Youth: Social Challenges & Policy

The current situation of the youth in Europe is rather difficult; the crisis decreased the protective effect of education on the one hand; on the other hand young people in the labour market suffer from high unemployment rate and early job insecurities. The latter can be described by long jobless periods, temporary contracts and jobs offered below their qualification. This phenomenon has long term and mainly negative effects in demographic changes (lack of motivation to start a family), social, as well, as economic policies (insufficient social security protection, higher risk of poverty, loss of human capital).

Therefore research on challenges and opportunities faced by the young generation in the pre- and post-recession economic eras is of utmost importance. HETFA has special experiences in this field by evaluating employment policies and proposing agendas aiming to help to increase youth employment probability.

Our approach

Our multi-disciplinary group consists of economists, sociologists, political science researchers and geographers. Using various research methods, we explore the labor market prospects of the youth, and evaluate the policies affecting them.

Our research program covers labor market, entrepreneurship, youth, family, policies and social welfare. Our research and programme evaluation is centered on three main issues: young parents, entrepreneurship and migration.

Examples of our future research ideas and plans:

  • Norms, values and attitudes of young people in Europe. How can (or why cannot) the youth (generation X and Y) become employed with their special skillset, values and norms in a labor market, which is driven by the skills, values and norms of the elderly? Are there more and less youth-compatible industries?
  • Youth and gender. We examine the most important factors that determine the labor market opportunities of young women and new mothers. Aspects of family wage gap could be also considered interesting.
  • Mobility and wellbeing. Youth mobility across Europe: motives and policies. What are the most important incentives for migration? Who goes and who stays? Are there typical types of migrants (e.g. career-driven, unemployment-driven, etc.). What are the social and individual welfare effects of migration in sending and recipient countries? How can policy help refill the place of emigrated workers in strategic industries, like healthcare.

Leading Researchers

Balázs SZEPESI, Fanni Bobák, Réka Geambaşu, Luca Koltai, Katalin Bördős, Ágnes Szabó-Morvai, Virág Zsár


1. Youth and young parents on the labor market

First, the research agenda focuses on the youth and young parents on the labor market, their participation and employment chances, employability and the underlying driving forces. Most importantly, the research group explored Hungarian social and economic background of youth unemployment. We have studied as well the effect of childcare availability on the labor supply decision of young mothers using regression discontinuity design.

Related papers:

Lovász, A. – Szabó-Morvai, Á. (2017): Institutional Context and the Effect of Childcare on Maternal Labor Supply – a Cutoff-Based Cross-Country AnalysisHÉTFA Working Papers No. 2016/20, Budapest, ISSN 2062-378X

Lovász, A. -Szabó-Morvai, Á. (2014): Does subsidized childcare matter for maternal labour supply? A modified regression discontinuity analysis. Budapest

Szabó-Morvai, Á. (2014): Who Benefits from Child Benefits? The Labour Supply Effects of Maternal Cash Benefit. Budapest

Szepesi, B. – Luksander, A. – Csite, A. (2013): Exploring the socio-economic background of NSRF developments aiming at the decrease of youth unemployment.

Lovász, A.–Szabó-Morvai, Á. (2013): Does Childcare Matter for Maternal Labour Supply? Pushing the limits of the Regression Discontinuity Framework. Budapest Working Paper Series

2. Policy evaluation of labor market and development policies

Second, quantitative and qualitative evaluations of labor market and development policies are prepared. We have measured how development subsidies affect job-creation in the economy. On the other hand, using a spatial econometric model, we have pointed out that employability is more important for increasing employment rates than job creation.

Related papers:

Major, K. – Tétényi, T. (2013): Munkahelyteremtés és foglalkoztatás [Job creation and employment]. Közgazdasági Szemle LX. évf., 2013. szeptember (965—991. o.)

HÉTFA (2011): Possibilities to Improve the Efficiency of Development Funds in Job Creation

3. Entrepreneurship: norms and values

Moreover, the team is engaged in examining personal characteristics, norms and values towards entrepreneurship and capitalism. Entrepreneurship, as a possible solution to the labor market problem of young people is an important element of the research agenda. As a closely related topic, we analyzed and identified the typical characteristics of European entrepreneurs.

Related papers:

Bobák, F. – Geambaşu, R. -Radnai, Zs. -Zsár, V. (2017): Female entrepreneurs – women in enterprises: Motivation, work-life balance, challenges, HÉTFA Working Papers No. 2017/27, Budapest

Mike, K. – Kiss, G. (2017): Beyond the Informal/Formal Divide: How do Firms Combine Contract-enforcement Institutions?, HÉTFA Working Papers No. 2017/21, Budapest, ISSN 2062-378X

Csite, A. –Luksander, A. – Mike, K. (2012):  Az európai vállalkozó karaktere. [The character of the European entrepreneur] Vezetéstudomány [Management Science] 2012, 42, Special Issue on Business competitiveness, 4-13.

Császár, M. – Horváth, G. (2010): Lélek, Érték, Stratégia – A vállalkozói lét alapdimenziói [Basic dimensions of entrepreneurship]

4. Mobility and wellbeing

Last, but not least, we deal with employee mobility issues. The group has examined the social attributes, motivations for migration and labor market position of Romanian migrants in Hungary. Also, the paper touches upon the motivations of employers and their level of satisfaction.

Related papers:

Czaller, L. – Major, K. (2015): Agglomeration wage premium in Hungary, HÉTFA Working Papers No. 2015/13, Budapest, ISSN 2062-378X

Németh, N. – Csite, A. – Jakobi, Á. (2009): Román állampolgárságú munkavállalók Magyarországon. [Romanian employees in Hungary]. In: Területi statisztika Vol. 12. (49.) No. 6, pp. 615-527.

Related projects and publications

Projects facilitating Youth and Dialogue between Youth and Decision-makers – more information (

  • Youth&SPA
  • ENriCH
  • SporTown
  • EU3doms

Final study including policy recommendations of Youth&SPA: available here

The four freedoms of the EU – Final study of EU3doms: available here

REVITA – HÉTFA (2013): Evaluation of measures targeting the improvement of employment

Szabo-Morvai, Á. (2013): Who Benefits from Child Benefits? The Labor Supply Effect of Maternal Cash Benefit

Csite András (2012): A sarki kisbolt, mint családbarát munkahely? [Delicates shop at the corner as a family-friendly workplace?] In: Munkaügyi Szemle No. 4. (Available only in Hungarian)

HÉTFA – Kopint-Tárki Zrt (2010): Az I. Nemzeti Fejlesztési Terv foglalkoztatási hatásai [Employment effects of the First National Development Program]

Csite, A. – Szepesi, B. (2009): A kapitalizmus és a magyarországi társadalom értékrendje: A jóravalók csalódottsága. [Capitalism and the value system of the Hungarian society. Disappointment of the righteous]. In: Szepesi Balázs (ed.): Jelentés a magyarországi kapitalizmus állapotáról 2008. Közjó és Kapitalizmus Intézet: Budapest, pp. 20-29. (Available only in Hungarian)