Two new PEP impact stories : Macedonia and Argentina

Two PEP-PAGE projects contribute to influence national policy debates and decision-making in Argentina and Macedonia.

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Two of the research projects supported by PEP under the first round of the "Policy Analysis on Growth and Employment" (PAGE) program, have already contributed to influence national policy debates and decision-making in Argentina and Macedonia.

In accordance with PEP's core mission, both projects were led by local researchers, with the continual support and mentoring of PEP (find out more about the PEP capacity building program). On the other hand, research teams who benefit from PEP grants are also required to engage and consult with policy makers and stakeholders all throughout their project cycle (from design to dissemination). As a result, PEP research usually contributes to stir up, inform and/or influence policy debates at the national level - such as in the case of the two following projects.

Macedonia
Raising awareness on the potential of remittances to support entrepreneurship of unemployed youth

This particular project, whose team also received the first prize of PEP’s 2014 Best Practice Award, aimed to explore whether remittances may be used to support the entrepreneurial activities of unemployed youth in households receiving remittances in Macedonia. Find out more about this research project (objectives, method, findings, etc - including a video interview and details on their policy outreach and dissemination activities).

From the earliest project stage, the team created linkages with relevant national government agencies, contacting and meeting with the highest officials - have of whom committed to support and contribute to dissemination of the research findings. They also engaged national and regional mass media to raise awareness amongst both the decision-makers and the general public, while some of the project team members took early initiatives to participate in national and international conferences to presente their research work and preliminary findings.

As a result of these efforts, the researchers' recommendations will be taken-up in the formulation of the forthcoming "Strategy and Action Plan" of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy. The team also managed to launch a nation-wide debate on the policy options for enhancing the effect of remittances on youth self-employment, and their findings were reflected in a report by the IMF.

More recently, two of the research team members were hired by ILO - at the recommendation of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy - to conduct an impact evaluation of selected social programs using the new knowledge gained through PEP training and support. They will be the first locally-based researchers to conduct an impact evaluation (IE) in/for Macedonia - all previous IEs have been conducted by foreign experts.

Argentina
Social protection to the informal sector: the role of minimum wage and income transfer policies

This project is an analysis of the characteristics of minimum wage and income transfer policies implemented in Argentina, since the post-crisis period of 2001-02 and through 2012.

The purpose was to provide policy makers with useful evidence regarding the consequences that modifications of these policies (i.e. levels of minimum wage and/or of income transfers to poor households) might have on the functioning of the labour market. In particular, the researchers attempted to produce evidence regarding the incentives/disincentives that these policies might have generated (in the labour market), and to assess their effects on employment, wages and distribution, with special emphasis on the informal sector. Find out more about this research project (objectives, method, findings, etc - including a video interview and details on the policy engagement).

Following consultations between the PEP research team and the Ministry of Labour, two national observatories were created in Argentina: the “Minimum Wage Observatory” and the “Social Protection Observatory”. Through these Observatories, the researchers were mandated to produce monthly reports in order to provide information on the evolution, characteristics and scope of the minimum wage and social protection policies. These reports are sent to several institutions (including government agencies such as the Ministry of Labour, Working Committees of the Senate, but also international agencies such as ILO, as well as chambers of commerce and trade unions in Argentina) in order to provide inputs for decision-making. The researchers have also held several meetings with top officials from various other government agencies to discuss the results from their PEP-PAGE study.

In addition, the consultations held with the Ministry of Labour have resulted in the decision to develop of a special research programme on income transfer for youth. Through this initiative, the researchers will collaborate with Labor Ministry officials to exploit the database of the more than 700,000 young beneficiaries of the Ministry’s employment programs.

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