Training for work is more effective than Working for the Dole
Tim Martyn (JSS)
This paper investigates Australia’s ‘mutual obligation’
policies for the unemployed, and makes a comparison with the United
States, the United Kingdom and Denmark. The focus of this investigation
is whether ‘work first’ strategies or labour market
training programs are more effective at reducing long-term unemployment.
The findings of this paper suggest that policies that encourage
greater social investment in the long-term unemployed, within an
activity requirement framework, are the most effective at reducing
It concludes that emphasising individual responsibility is not
in itself problematic; however, policies that increase individual
responsibility without simultaneously improving individual capacity,
fail to redress the real labour market barriers faced by disadvantaged
jobseekers. In addition, by not addressing the real reasons for
income support dependence, Australia’s ‘mutual obligation’
approach, as typified by the Work for the Dole program, only further
stigmatises those already on the social and economical margins.
full JSS paper
Joint research: the Mutual
Tim Martyn is the Research Officer at the Jesuit Social Services.
The views expressed in this report are those of the author. Please
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