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GPP505 Final Paper: Ecuadorian Youth Employment plan: an examination through the

stages of the policy cycle framework.

Global and Domestic Policy Analysis- GPP 505

Bastidas Chasing, Diego
April 13, 2018
1. Introduction
James Anderson defines public policies as “a purposive course of action followed by an
actor or set of actors in dealing with a problem or matter of concern for the population". Public
policies he says “are those rules developed by governmental bodies and officials”. In this paper I
will apply the Policy Cycle Framework to analyze how the Ecuadorian government created and
implemented several policies to grant the youth population the right to work. I will start by
defining the problem of my case. Secondly, I will give an overview of the case under analysis.
Thirdly, I will analyze how this policy entered the Government Agenda. Fourthly, I will describe
some features about the Institutional context and the decision-making process in Ecuador.
Finally, I will explain the policy implementation and evaluation phase.

2. Problem definition and actors in youth employment governance

Around the 20% of Ecuadorian younger population that is in the age to work is looking for
being part of labor system. 1 Historically, there has been an absence of policy made by the State to
answer this situation until 2008. Since that point, several policies and strategies have been
launched to address this problem. The “Youth Employment” policy was one solution created to
tackle this problem.
The Ecuadorian youth population experiences several restrictions in incorporating to the
Labor Market. Research shows that according to the business sector the main factor for not
hiring young workers is their lack of experience related to the different production areas. The
youth population also faces discrimination and equity problems in the Labor market. For
instance, there is a gender gap in terms of access to the labor market and in salaries. Along the
same line the youth population from minority groups, such as peasants, afroecuadorians, and first
nations suffer higher rates of Labor exclusion.
Policy problems under the policy cycle model framework are analyzed and solved by a
variety of different actors who have the power to take decisions. As public policies translate into
rules that influence actions, it is important to acknowledge that this process involves non-state
actors too. In the Ecuadorian case the governance of youth labor policies is described as shown
in Table 1.

1 I´m making an estimation base on Ecuador Stats data.

Table 1. Actors in youth employment Governance:
Actors Results?
International non-state actors International Labor Organization – Decisions
toward Youth Employment protection.
Ecuadorian state actors Labor Ministry
Non Labor Ministry whose decisions could affect
Labor policy.
Legislative actors
Domestic non state – actors Young organizations
Business sector
Mass media

During the development of the youth employment policy design process, the labor
ministry created several roundtables to engage stakeholders from the civil society and
production sector. Roundtables were organized to discuss with youth organizations the problems
and needs that they face in accessing the labor system. Since the beginning, the business sector
has stressed the need to enhance economic incentives to create more job opportunities for the
youth population. Likewise, the International Labor Organization has provided technical support
and monitoring to ensure the new policy will fulfill the standards for providing decent work for
young people.

3. Policy formulation: Ideas

The case of my analysis is the Ecuadorian public policy on youth employment. This policy
has been enacted for solve the unemployment problem among the young population 2. The policy
contains several components such as the creation of database of youth population, a specific
agency to coordinate the policy actions of education, training, the economic incentives for
engaging the business sector, and evaluating the policy results.
This policy is part of a wide effort to build the society of the “Living Good” ( Buen Vivir)3.
The “Living good” paradigm could be defined as the idea behind my policy case. Erick Bleich

2 Accordingly to Ecuador Stats (INEC) around the 20% of Ecuadorian younger population is in the age to work are looking
for being part of Labor system. Historically, there has been an absent policy made by the State for addressing this social
3 The Ecuadorian Constitution defines “Living Good” as the cornerstone of our development process. Basically this paradigm
says that all public policies, institutions, and decisions should be formulate and implement in terms to improve the Human
dignity living in harmony with respect to rights of Pacha Mamma.
stresses that ideas “shape public policy in the way that it has influence on how actors identify
what is a problem, and how they understand this policy problem”. The “Living good” paradigm is
situated as the major framework of designing and implementing public policies in Ecuador since
2008, when the new Constitution was approved. The main objective under this paradigm is to
grant special protection for social rights, such as Labor, to everyone. By applying the “Living
good” set of ideas, the Ecuadorian government recognized the cultural and historical factors
related to Ecuadorian society.
In Latin American comparative politics there has exist similar efforts to tackled the youth
unemployment problem trough specific policies conducted to give skills to youth population,
granted economic incentives to business sector and the State role to coordinate both public and
private effort to reduce youth unemployment. Since 1998, International Labor Organization
trough its Conference on Youth Employment has deployed policy diffusion efforts to harmonize
youth employment policies in the region.

4. The Agenda setting stage

There have been two major strategies launched in the last decade, the first called “Mi
primer empleo” (2008) and second called “Empleo joven” (2017). Both strategies keep in the
kernel of their framework the same measures as mentioned supra. However, the “Empleo joven”
plan introduced new economic incentives to the business sector in order to stimulate more hiring
of youth workers.
Graph 1 shows that between 2009 and 2015 the rates of enemployment for youth, defined
as 18-25 years old, dropped from 14% to 11%. After 2011, this unemployment rate suffered a
slight increase, but the policy was still controlling the phenomena. These trends started at the
same time as when the policy was first implemented. One reason for this substantial variation on
unemployment rates could likely be a result of how the policy was successful in accomplishing its
goals. In addition, I think this data works as a problem indicator in the Agenda setting process.

Graph 1- Youth Unemployment (%).

Source: CIA Facts.
Under the theoretical point of view the Agenda setting process is conceived as "(...) a list of
subjects to which officials are paying some serious attention at any given time (Kingdom, 1995).” In
this sense the Agenda process put the focus on the interaction between social problems, policy
dynamics and actors participation. In the case of the policy on youth employment we are able to
observe a dynamic interaction around these three elements. The current policy is the result of a
real social problem that is accompanied by an interplay of political forces and social movements.
Public perception of the youth employment policy has improved steadily over the past 10
years, as is shown in the government agenda and social media indicators. Basically, I
distinguished in the Government realm how the topic of Youth employment has been addressed. I
have built a “Goverment Agenda Indicator” which measures the “Number of times “Youth
Employment” appears over time” on the formal policy cycle through announced proposals, public
roundtables, the government plan, Presidential State of the Nation addresses, and weekly
presidential TV addresses. Additionally, using the “Social Media Indicators” on the Google
trends tool, I used the search query “Empleo joven”.
 Government Agenda Indicators:

“Number of times “Youth Employment” appears over time”

Government plan 3
Announced proposals 2
Mensaje a la nación 3
Weekly presidential TV address Several mentions
to this public
policy were made

These indicators shows the priority level of this public policy within the government during the
last decade. It also shows that the government uses many tools for civic engagement to
communicate directives about the public policy to the general public and to receive feedback from
the same.
 Social media Indicators:
I use the phrase “Empleo joven” in my query in order to observe how google users regarded the
this topic. In the last 6 years there has been a significant amount of research on this topic using
the Google search.
Table 2. Google trends “Empleo joven”.

Source: Google trends.

5) Institutional context and Decision making in Ecuador

Ecuador has a republican, democratic, participatory and constitutional political system.
The highest governmental office is that of the president. The governmental system in Ecuador
stresses the special power of the president to conduct state affairs. The president of the republic
is both head of the government and head of the state. The president´s roles and limitations are
defined by the constitution. Some of these powers include designing, implementing, and
promoting public policies through tools such executive decrees, proposing bills to parliament,
and vetoing legislation that goes against his or her policies. Since the 2008 Constitution the
Presidential institution was strengthen in its attributions and in relation to the Legislative power
accordingly to Pachano.
Specifically, Ecuadorian President under the 2008 Constitution has the power to design
and implement the public policies accordingly to its national development plan. To fulfill this
purpose the President delegate to its cabinet the responsibility this responsibility accordingly to
each political area. The National Development Plan “Buen Vivir” was the main framework were
the executive office move for implement their public policies.
The youth employment policies are part of a comprehensive plan of the current
government, which was voted to power in 2006. The government is comprised of a leftist political
coalition. This government put special attention on the youth population and as a result, the new
Ecuadorian constitution of 2008 recognized the rights of youth to employment in line with
International Labor Organization treaties.
The Ecuadorian government used subsidies and grants as tools in order to implement the
Youth Employment policy. In the case of labor laws, this kind of policy has a double purpose of
shifting power relations and democratizing the workplace. This is because one of the policy
components uses subsidies to promote youth population in the labor market. This generates
what Bardach calls a “wealth effect.”
To fulfill this, the President delegated the design and implementation of the labor policies
for the young population to the Labor Ministry. This Ministry promote executive decrees and a
major reform Bill to introduce the new young employment contract. This Bill and the executive
decree were fundamental to this policy cycle to be into the real world.
According to Moe and Caldwell the institutional forms of a democracy shape the policy
cycles and the public administration structures in different directions. In the case of youth
employment policies the executive branch was in control of the proposal, implementation and
evaluation of this policy over time. As a result, the Ecuadorian government exercises its
regulatory power to influence social reality.
In order to understand the decision by the Ecuadorian government to implement a policy
aimed to promote and to protect the Labor rights of young workers called “youth employment”, I
will put the focus on the policy formulation process located at the government level. The
Ecuadorian political system has attributed to the executive branch control over the decision-
making process related to policy cycles.
There have been two policies designed to protect the rights of young people preparing to
enter the labor force in the last decade. Firstly, the program called “my first job”, which consisted
in the inclusion of young people at the public sector granted a salary and gave them professional
skills during their experience. Secondly, the program was called “youth employment” which
consisted in a bunch of complex policies to achieve labor inclusion at the private sector. In this
paper I will focus on the second one.
The program “youth employment” combines a bunch of policy mechanism such as market
incentives, subsidies to the young workers, and involvement of civil society in its implementation.
The national government launched this policy after consultation with several youth
organizations, business sector and union organizations. For instance, universities helped to create
the national database in order to implement the policy.
The basic mechanism of this policy consist in given a stable contract to young worker for
12 months. The government assume the social security of the youth workforce employed under
this contracts. Labor ministry has the responsibility to create a job search program to facilitate
the skill education transfer to the new youth workers. This program also works as a link between
the demand and supply in the labor market. The youth employment policy main objective is to
deal with youth unemployment problem whereas the policy looks also to give technical skills to
introduce young workers to the labor system. The main policy instrument uses by the Ecuadorian
government are the executive decree.
6) Policy implementation and Evaluation
In applying an effective evaluating method this stage has to observe what was the
objectives that the policy was looking to fulfill and how those objectives were implemented
effectively over time. As public policies are not self executed they need to be implemented in
order to become a reality. In the case of the Youth Employment policy this objectives were
established by the National Development Plan (Plan Nacional del “Buen Vivir” 2013-2017) aimed
to achieve: 1) to create empleability conditions to young workers, 2) to create technical skills and
educative process, 3) to create mechanism were young population could acquire some labor
experience, and 4) to create mechanisms to connect labor supply and labor demand.
Method for evaluation:
In using the Structured Decision Making method, Ecuadorian government should develop
a battery of performance measure indicators to ensure that the objectives will assess in a
practical way (SDM, chapter 5, pag. 96).
The challenges to implement this new approach lay down on the complexity of the issue.
However, under the SDM method the implementation phase will consider including the wider
public, civil society organized actors and key actors in diamond industries.
Finally, a good impact evaluation should contain an assessment of the activities over time.
7) References
Ecuadorian Constitution.
Alianza Pais Government plan.
National Development Plan (Plan “Buen Vivir”).
Youth employment law:
The Institutional Foundations of Democratic Government: A Comparison of Presidential and
Parliamentary Systems. Terry M. Moe and Michael Caldwell.
A Practical Guide for Policy Analysis (Eightfold Path) Eugene Bardach.
John W. Kingdon, Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies, (New York: HarperCollins, 1995),
Chapter 9.
Erik Bleich. "Integrating Ideas into Policy-Making Analysis: Frames and Race Policies in Britain and
France," Comparative Political Studies 35, no. 9 (2002): 1054-1076
Google trends:
El Sistema Político ecuatoriano, Simon Pachano y Flavia Freidenberg.
Ecuador: Plan Nacional de Acción de Empleo Juvenil, Ministerio de Relaciones Laborales del
Ecuador. Empleo y Migración Laboral de Jóvenes en el Ecuador. Análisis situacional. Gloria Camacho

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