Government as Employer of Last Resort as a Solution to Youth Unemployment in Developing Countries: Lessons from Ghana’s National Youth Employment Programme

Timothy Yaw Acheampong

Abstract


Abstract. Due to the private sector’s inability to absorb the growing number of unemployed youths particularly in developing countries, as expected from neoclassical policies, critics of the neoclassical theory – the ‘critical view’ –  have advocated for direct job creation programmes such as the Government as Employer of Last Resort (ELR) as a solution to all forms of unemployment. This paper provides evidence on the ability of Government to tackle youth unemployment based on a study of Ghana’s National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) using features of the ELR proposal as an analytical tool.

Design/methodology/approach. A mixed-methods, case study approach.

Findings.Ghana’s NYEP has contributed to building some human capital; however, it does not meet all the criteria of an effective ELR scheme.

Research limitations/implications. Although, the study focuses solely on Ghana’s NYEP, lessons from the programme’s implementation challenges should serve as a guide for governments and policy makers.

Originality/value. This is the first independent empirical study on the NYEP and the first in Ghana and Africa based on the ELR framework.

Paper type. Original research paper.

 

Keywords: Labour Market, Youth Unemployment, Government as Employer of Last Resort (ELR), Ghana’s National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP), Developing Countries, Human Capital