Recent trends in the youth labor market in Colombia: Diagnosis and policy challenges
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This paper characterizes the youth labor market in Colombia from 2008 to 2017. We estimate labor market indicators for individuals aged between 14-28 years using microdata from Colombia’s household surveys over the study period. Our estimates document the main patterns and trends in the labor market for youth in labor force participation, employment, unemployment, informality, and earnings. We compare these statistics to the same indicators for adults (individuals aged between 29-65 years), and explore differences within youth by characteristics such as gender, region, educational attainment, socioeconomic status, and experience. Results indicate that young Colombians have increased their participation rate in recent years, but are mostly employed in low-quality jobs: unsalaried and informal. We also document marked inequalities in labor market outcomes across youth characteristics. We provide a series of recommendations to guide future youth labor policy given these estimates and a critical analysis of recent youth policies in Colombia.