How effective are hiring subsidies to reduce long-term unemployment among prime-aged jobseekers? Evidence from Belgium

Sam Desiere, Bart Cockx

Research output: Working paper / PreprintWorking paper

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Hiring subsidies are widely used to create (stable) employment for the long-term unemployed. This paper exploits the abolition of a hiring subsidy targeted at long-term unemployed jobseekers over 45 years of age in Belgium to evaluate its effectiveness in the short and medium run. Based on a triple difference methodology the hiring subsidy
is shown to increase the job finding rate by 13% without any evidence of spill-over effects. This effect is driven by a positive effect on individuals with at least a bachelor’s
degree. However, the hiring subsidy mainly created temporary short-lived employment: eligible jobseekers were not more likely to find employment that lasted at least twelve
consecutive months than ineligible jobseekers.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationMaastricht
Number of pages38
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2021

Publication series

SeriesROA Research Memoranda

JEL classifications

  • h22 - Taxation and Subsidies: Incidence
  • j08 - Labor Economics Policies
  • j18 - Demographic Economics: Public Policy
  • j23 - Labor Demand
  • j38 - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs: Public Policy
  • j64 - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
  • j65 - "Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings"
  • j68 - Mobility, Unemployment, and Vacancies: Public Policy


  • hiring subsidies
  • long-term unemployment
  • prime-aged jobseekers
  • triple difference
  • temporary help agencies

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