Skip to content

Creating Jobs: Public Employment Programs and Wage Subsidies

John L. Palmer

The Brookings Institution, December 1978

Creating Jobs: Public Employment Programs and Wage Subsidies cover

Little is known about what happens when the federal government intervenes directly in the job market. Yet large federal programs have been undertaken and other proposals to create jobs have been advocated to deal with unemployment in the 1970s.

This volume presents the results of a Brookings conference convened to assess the effects of such proposals. It begins with an account of the principal findings by the organizers of the conference, Irwin Garfinkel and John L. Palmer. The seven papers (and commentary on them) that follow suggest a variety of ways for estimating how public-employment and wage- subsidy schemes would affect unemployment and the economy. The consequences of using job creating policies to alleviate cyclical unemployment are explored by Martin Neil Baily and James Tobin, and of those to attack structural unemployment by George E. Johnson. Their papers focus on employment programs in the public sector, while Daniel S. Hamermesh's concentrates on programs that provide subsidies for jobs in the private sector. These three papers, taking a theoretical approach, suggest through econometric constructions what effects job creating actions will have. The application of policy is examined in three other papers: Jonathan R. Kesselman's analysis of U.S. programs that provided jobs in the 1930s; Robert H. Haveman's study of Holland's program that assures employment for handicapped workers; and an appraisal by Peter Kemper and Philip Moss of early results of an experimental U.S. program that provides jobs for those least likely to find employment. Finally, David H. Greenberg, in a simulation of a guaranteed employment program, predicts how participation in and the cost of such programs would vary with the programs' terms-wage rates, waiting period, and length of work week.

John L. Palmer is a senior fellow in the Brookings Economic Studies program.

Campbell Public Affairs Institute
306 Eggers Hall