The impact of the European social fund on youth education and employment

Stefano Fusaro, Rosario Scandurra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


The effectiveness of the European Union’s Cohesion Policy in reducing regional socio-economic gaps remains an open empirical issue, while evidence as to how the policy is affected by specific territorial factors and which social groups benefit most from it remains sparse. This article seeks to address this gap by disentangling the impact of the European Social Fund (ESF) on youth education and employment prospects. Drawing on macro-level data for the European NUTS-2 regions, we assess the impact that this fund has on different education-specific youth population shares and employment rates. In the case of education, we find that the receipt of funding is associated with a human capital polarization of regional populations. Specifically, we identify a positive impact of the ESF on population shares with lower-secondary and tertiary education, and a simultaneous negative impact on the share of those with upper-secondary education. In the case of employment, we find a positive response for youth of all education levels. A heterogeneity analysis indicates that both the education and employment responses of the youth population to the receipt of the ESF are strongly influenced by local specialization in high-skilled activities.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101650
Number of pages16
JournalSocio-economic planning sciences
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • Youth
  • Employment
  • Human capital
  • European social funds
  • Cohesion policy
  • European regions


Dive into the research topics of 'The impact of the European social fund on youth education and employment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this