Evaluation Study of Mehalev – the Israeli Experimental Version of the From Welfare to Work Program: Summary Report

Research Team Research Team
Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute National Insurance Institute
Denise Naon Leah Achdut *
Jack Habib Miriam Shmelzer
Assaf Ben-Shoham Gabriela Heilbrun
Judith King Alexander Gealia
Noam Fischman Tami Eliav
Abraham Wolde-Tsadick Netanela Barkali
Pnina Neuman * Senior Fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute

Findings from a Study Monitoring the Impact of the Program on Persons Eligible for Income Support at the Start of the Program (the Stock) after Fifteen Months of Implementation and on New Applicants (the Flow) Six Months After Applying for Income Support (Report no. 6)

The experimental program Mehalev, which is the Israeli equivalent of From Welfare to Work and is designed to find employment for recipients of income support who are required to take an employment test, has been implemented in Israel since August 2005. The program is based on legislation stipulating that the implementation of the program is to be the subject of an evaluation, which should indicate the extent to which the program goals have been achieved. It should also provide the government and the Knesset with the factual foundation on which to base their decision whether to extend the program to additional areas of the country and, if so, in what format. The findings from the study, conducted jointly by the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute and the National Insurance Institute (NII), have to date been published in five reports (in Hebrew) on the websites of both institutes. This latest report (the sixth) is the summary report.

The study design, which is quasi-experimental, compares the changes that occurred over time in the experimental group referred to the program and those that occurred in a control group with similar characteristics over the same period. By calculating the difference in the changes, it was possible to assess the impact of the program with regard to various outcome measures. The experimental group and the control group were defined separately for the Stock (persons receiving benefits right before implementation of the program, who were referred to the employment centers in the experimental area) and the Flow (new applicants). The evaluation was conducted at three points in time and interviews were held in four languages. The study analyzed administrative data from the NII in addition to the information obtained from respondents.

The report summarizes the study findings regarding the program’s impact on changes in the referrals’ employment status, on the exit rate from the income support system, on the transfer of individuals to other benefits, and on the families’ general income, after fifteen months of implementation. The program’s impact on the wellbeing and scholastic performance of children in families referred to the program was also examined. In addition, differences among groups of individuals referred to the program and among the different centers implementing the program were assessed. The report also describes the services that the centers provided to program participants (which include: workshops, courses, community service, guided job seeking, and work support services, chiefly help with transportation and childcare arrangements) and the participants’ evaluation of the contribution the centers made to their integration into work.

The findings have been presented to the program management and to the public committee on the program to integrate benefit recipients into the cycle of employment (Yaari Commission) and other forums.

The study was commissioned and funded by the Government of Israel.