K4D Emerging Issues report

Youth Employment & Citizenship: Problematising Theories of Change

Published on 1 April 2018

In recent years, funding for youth employment interventions has rapidly increased. However, there is limited to no evidence that interventions that build skills and knowledge lead to sustained employment and increased earnings. There is also no evidence that youth employment interventions have positive impact on peace and stability, or can lead to youth empowerment in a broader sense.

This calls for revisiting the dominant assumptions and theories of change that underpin existing interventions. This Emerging Issues report is based on a review of existing meta-analysis studies on the impact of youth employment interventions as well as qualitative research on the experiences of youth. It argues for more clarity of purpose of different youth interventions and to diversify theories of change to be responsive to different political and economic contexts. Existing theories of change can be enhanced by adopting ideas and approaches for strengthening youth active citizenship.

Cite this publication

Oosterom, M.A. (2018) Youth Employment & Citizenship: Problematising Theories of Change, K4D Emerging Issues Report. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies


Marjoke Oosterom

Power and Popular Politics Cluster Lead

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