10 Jan 2018

Blame it on my youth!

Policy recommendations for re-evaluating and reducing youth unemployment

Zachary Kilhoffer / Miroslav Beblavy / Karolien Lenaerts

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Youth unemployment has ranked high on the agenda of European policymakers since the onset of the crisis. Ten years later, youth unemployment remains stubbornly high in a number of member states. This paper offers policy recommendations for rethinking and reducing youth unemployment in Europe. To this end, it filters and summarises the results of the STYLE research project on youth unemployment in Europe, and supplements these with additional literature. The paper explores three sets of questions: i) How to define and measure youth employment? ii) What are its causes and effects? and iii) What can be done about the phenomenon? The findings indicate that youth unemployment is poorly understood and the most common measurements are insufficient. Its causes are diverse, arising from both the inherent disadvantages suffered by younger people in the labour market as well as from structural changes occurring in the labour market. The effects of youth unemployment are detrimental and significant at both the societal and individual level. Based on our analysis, we put forward 13 broad policy recommendations to address youth unemployment in Europe.

Zachary Kilhoffer is Research Assistant at CEPS, Miroslav Beblavý is Senior Research Fellow at CEPS and Karolien Lenaerts is Researcher at CEPS. The authors are grateful to Ana Silva, Frank Vandenbroucke and Iain Begg for their comments and feedback. This paper was prepared in the context of the project on Strategic Transitions for Youth Labour in Europe (STYLE), which is funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no. 613256.