1.6 Evidence-based youth policy
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The main channel of research informing youth policy is large-scale youth research, which has been conducted every four years since 2000. In each cycle, the youth research is conducted in relation to 15-29 year olds on a representative sample of 8 000 people. Since 2009, the implementation of the research has been regulated by the National Youth Strategy (Nemzeti Ifjúsági Stratégia). This priority is reinforced in the youth policy report Hungarian Youth 2020 (Magyar Ifjúság 2020), which was published in 2013. In the framework of the EU project of the National Youth Council (EU Youth Dialogue) there are important research results which are incorporated into the decision making processes.
Institutionalised mechanisms and actors
As noted before, there are no institutionalised mechanisms of channelling youth research to policy making, but the role of the large scale youth research is central here.
Researches related to youth policy were carried out in the National Institute for Family, Youth and Population Policy. Due to the restructuring of background institutions in 2016, these professional functions were assigned to the Ministry of Human Capacities, which in the end of 2017 founded the Maria Kopp Institute for Demography and Families (KINCS). In 2020, the Minister without Portfolio Responsible for Families took over the leadership of the Institute. Research management belongs to the Minister without portfolio in cooperation with KINCS, regarding the following topics:
- developing the family and population policy of the Government,
- developing the tools for family and population policy and the system of family benefits,
- coordinating the tasks related to the cooperation among generations,
- coordinating the tasks related to family social and health programmes, and
- coordinating the tasks related to the equality of men and women.
As of 1 January 2022, the Minister heading the Prime Minister's Office (Miniszterelnökséget vezető miniszter) took over also this tasks of the Minister.
Informal/ ad-hoc cooperation
Apart from the youth researches that take place in every four years (for detailed information see sub-chapter 1.3. National Youth Strategy), there is no regular research, only ad hoc cooperation and secondary analyses. The main strategic documents contain an overview with data, on which the priorities are based. However, in the latest action plan of National Youth Strategy for 2016-2017 [1535/2016. (X. 13.) Korm. határozat], there is not any reference to data.
Policy themes informed by research
Youth research findings are frequently mentioned in decision-making processes and in public speeches by government representatives (especially in relation to family policy). The most explicit reference to research findings in 2016 was in relation to the introduction of the measure to reimburse the costs of the first successful language exams for young people under 35. The official communication (hivatalos közlemény) underlined that according to the research larger proportions of young people reported appropriate language competence than the proportion of those with language exams.
Evidence-based evaluation of youth policies
As several youth programmes are financed by EU funds with a formal obligation to carry out relevant monitoring activities, a relatively large number of empirical data sources can be reached. In addition, market researchers also deal with youth-related issues from time to time. Significant examples are studies on Internet use and its dangers and the study of migration intention and potential, but the results of these surveys have not been officially mentioned in government documents.
The most important document of the evidence-based evaluation of youth policy is the aforementioned document entitled Hungarian Youth 2020 (Magyar Ifjúság 2020), which analyses the second action plan of the NYS, taking into account the participation of the state actors and the data collections.
Monitoring of the specific projects funded by the government is done regularly through the Electronic Tender Administration and Cooperation System (EPER). Evaluation and reporting on these tenders is done using data provided through the system. The evaluation of smaller projects can vary. The evaluation of the Petőfi Sándor programme mentioned earlier is a publication (publikáció) that consists of reports of the participants.
The existence of national youth statistics
The Hungarian Central Statistical Office (referred hereinafter to as HCSO) collects statistics on youth. Besides the basic demographic data, detailed age-specific information is available for education, income, culture, info-communication. HCSO also publishes data on the situation of youth in the labour market (A fiatalok munkaerő-piaci helyzete, 2011), most recently about the year 2010. The HCSO regularly publishes about youth employment as part of the general labour market overview, the most recent publication refers to the first half of 2021 (Munkaerőpiaci folyamatok, 2021. I. félév). Youth unemployment and the NEET-rate of 15-24 year-olds is regularly monitored (monitorozva) and data on unemployment by age groups is also accessible (A 15–74 évesek munkanélküliségi rátájának alakulása, 2021).
Specific youth indicators
In addition to the above, the HCSO regularly collects data on aspects of education (Oktatási adatok 2020/2021, előzetes adatok) (mainly the numbers of students in the different levels of education, but budgetary data is also published), farming (young farmers are defined as those under the age of 40), and there is one specific indicator regarding books published in youth and children’s literature (A kiadott könyvek és füzetek jelleg szerint, 2020).
National youth report
No general youth reports published by the HCSO, but specific reports and publications often analyse the topics of family and population, and labour market, where the situation of young people is described. Besides the analyses published connected to the regular large sample youth researches often present statistical data too.
Large-sample youth research
The National Youth Strategy calls for the conduction of large sample youth research every four years. The most recent study, Hungarian Youth 2020 (Magyar Fiatalok 2020), representative of 15-29 years old living in Hungary and ethnic Hungarian youth of the neighbouring countries, was conducted in 2020. The flash report has already been published and an edited volume of studies will be published in 2022, as well as the data file is planned to be made public.
Other data and analyses
As mentioned previously, ad hoc researches focusing on certain policy fields or topics under the ministry are frequent. A detailed analysis on the situation of young people on the labour market is published in 2020.
There is no separate, allocated budget line for youth research. The large-scale researches before 2020 were financed through the budget (using EU-funds) allocated to the New Generation Centre (Új Nemzedék Központ). The youth research in 2020 was funded by the same budget but now it is allocated to the legal successor of the New Generation Centre, the Elisabeth Youth Fund (Erzsébet Ifjúsági Alap).