For most of the developing world, growing levels of female school attendance, combined with low labor force participation, suggest that young women have a more difficult transition from school to work than young men. In 2011, between 47 percent and 72 percent of young women aged 15 to 24 in low-income developing countries were neither at school nor at work, and were recorded as “idle” in household surveys.

These initial disadvantages call for greater policy and program efforts focused on young women’s transition into jobs to equalize opportunities with young men.

Summary of Lessons

For young women, demand-oriented skills training, on-the-job training, vouchers and/or wage subsidies effectively increase their employability and earnings.

Cash grants or incentives to young women for education increase their school attendance and may improve their educational outcomes; while large cash grants with no conditions may help increase young women’s employment and income and have sizeable social benefits.

A cash transfer experiment in low-income Malawi found significant impacts on school test scores, as well as enrollment and attendance, when the transfer of about $5 monthly was conditional on the young women, aged 13 to 22, attending school.

Livelihood programs that combine reproductive health with income generation and asset building show promising results for young women in low-income settings and in socially conservative environments, but need to be further evaluated before they can be delivered at scale.

An adolescent program in Uganda finds a 35 percent increase in the likelihood of young women being engaged in income generation and a 30 percent reduction in pregnancy rates, underscoring the strong connection that appears to exist between economic and health indicators for young women.

Identifying Research Gaps and Priorities for Women’s Economic Empowerment: Gender and Youth Employment

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Financiers across the world structure debt contracts to limit the risk of entrepreneurial lending. However, certain debt structures that reduce risk may inhibit enterprise growth, especially among the poor. We use a field experiment to estimate the short- and long-run impacts of varying the term structure of the classic microfinance loan product.

The Impact of Training Policies in Latin America and the Caribbean: The Case of Programa Joven

This research evaluates the "Programa Joven", a training program conducted by the Ministerio del Trabajo of Argentina. We adapt and apply a non-experimental evaluation methodology to answer the following questions: Does "Programa Joven" increase the labor income of the trainees? Does "Programa Joven" increase the probability of being employed? And (3) what is the rate of return to dollars spent on the "Programa Joven"? We used Propensity Scores Matching Estimators as our basic methodology to obtain a measure of the impact of the training program.

Subsidizing Vocational Training for Disadvantaged Youth in Developing Countries: Evidence from a Randomized Trial

This paper evaluates the impact of a randomized training program for disadvantaged youth introduced in Colombia in 2005. This randomized trial offers a unique opportunity to examine the impact of training in developing countries. We use originally collected data on individuals randomly offered and not offered training. The program raises earnings and employment, especially for women. Women offered training earn 18% more and have a 0.05 higher probability of employment than those not offered training, mainly in formal sector jobs.

Training Disadvantaged Youth in Latin America: Evidence From a Randomized Trial

Youth unemployment in Latin America is exceptionally high, as much as 50% among the poor. Vocational training may be the best chance to help unemployed young people at the bottom of the income distribution. This paper evaluates the impact of a randomized training program for disadvantaged youth introduced in Colombia in 2005 on the employment and earnings of trainees. This is one of a couple of randomized training trials conducted in developing countries and, thus, offers a unique opportunity to examine the causal impact of training in a developing country context.

Gender and Racial Discrimination in Hiring: A Pseudo Audit Study for Three Selected Occupations in Metropolitan Lima

In this paper, we adapt the audit studies methodology to analyze gender and racial differences in hiring for a particular segment of the market of three selected occupations in Metropolitan Lima: salespersons, secretaries and (accounting and administrative) assistants. The adapted pseudo-audit study methodology allows us to reduce the room for existence of statistical discrimination.

The Impact of Mexico's Retraining Program on Employment and Wages

This paper analyzes the impact and effectiveness of the Mexican Labor Retraining Program for Unemployed and Displaced Workers (PROBECAT). The strategy followed is to compare the post- training labor market experiences of trainees with those of a comparison group--a matched sample of unemployed individuals who were eligible for, but did not participate in, the PROBECAT program. The results of this exercise suggest that participation in PROBECAT reduced the mean duration of unemployment for both male and female trainees, and increased the monthly earnings of males, but not offemales.

How Can Job Opportunities for Young People in Latin America be Improved?

Job training programs for vulnerable youth are the main response of Latin American governments to address the problem of inadequate employment opportunities for young people. Despite its importance, knowledge about these programs is scarce. This study contributes to filling this gap in the literature by presenting new evidence on the effectiveness of six of these programs operating or that were implemented in Colombia, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Dominican Republic.