Vera Chiodi, J-PAL Europe
Rethinking aid and subsidies in urban contexts, Torino, 19 October 2012

The French experience on monetary transfers to disadvantaged young people

Many young people enrolled in the French aid agencies for employment seeking seem to have difficulties in reaching sustainable social and professional integration despite the availability of services. Among the reasons given for this lack of sustainability for the efforts made towards social integration of young people, two of them return frequently. The first is the existence of financial constraints faced by youth: reflecting the lack of financial autonomy of youth, these constraints can thus lead to undertake investment choices in their professional and education career that are very different from those they would have done in the absence of such constraints. The second is the lack of adherence to the programs these agencies propose. Joining a program for professional and social insertion by these agencies is a binding investment for youth. For instance, constraints occur immediately, and while the benefit of this investment will occur later. The problem of temporal consistency of pursuing an effort reaches all individuals, but it is often highlighted as a crucial psychological dimension of youth behavior.

The project consists on a monetary transfer to youth conditional that the youth are followed by a counselor. It can thus act simultaneously on these two aspects: relaxing financial constraints and the temporal incoherence.

Three questions arise here: (1) the first is whether it can access and maintain sustainable employment; (2) a second issue is whether participation in the program allows young people to register permanently in these agencies (for example, through the number of interviews, enrollment in training, etc.); and (3) a third and important question is about how youth manages the budget.