Veronica Escudero (PSE PhD 2018)

Veronica Escudero, Chief of the Labour Market Trends and Policy Evaluation Unit, ILO Switzerland.

1. Where do you come from? Could you tell us about your education and, in particular, about the track in which you were at the Paris School of Economics?

I come from Ecuador. I’m originally from Quito, the capital, but I grew up in the north of the country, on a farm, some 14 km from the city of Ibarra. When I finished high school, I moved to Quito to start University, and since then my education path has brought me to travel and see various countries and cultures.

I got a BA from the Univesity of Oregon (US) in 2003, then a MSc. in Economics from the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador in 2004, and then I travelled to France to study a MSc. in International Economics at the University Pierre-Mendès France, which I finished in 2006. After working several years, I enrolled in 2014 in Paris School of Economics (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, EHESS) to pursue a Ph.D under the supervision of Professor Philippe Askenazy. In November 2018, I got my Ph.D in Economics and Policy Analysis from PSE, after having completed and defended the dissertation entitled: “Design and delivery of effective activation measures: What works and for whom?”.

2. Since your graduation at PSE, what kind of job have you had? According to you, what is the main value added that your education at PSE gave you?

My academic and professional paths have always been intertwined. When I started the Ph.D at PSE, I had been working already at the Research Department of the ILO for over 5 years. Although my dream had always been to pursue a Ph.D, I was in a steep learning curve at my job, and so I decided to pursue both in parallel.

Although terribly intense, looking back, I think this was a great decision, which allowed me to thrive in the best of two worlds: the academic world, where I have strived to find innovative solutions that meet high standards of theoretical and methodological rigor to economic and social challenges; and the policy world, where I have aimed to transform these solutions into feasible recommendations that make practical sense to a variety of stakeholders. My heart will forever be divided between these two worlds, which I have found can successfully be leveraged together.

PSE allowed me to leverage the opportunities of this dual career-academic path, thanks to the stimulating atmosphere and extraordinary academic quality of teaching and research staff, colleagues and office mates. Moreover, the rigorous technical knowledge accumulated through the Ph.D accompany on a daily basis, elevating the quality and sophistication of the work I carry out.

3. In your current position, what are the day-to-day challenges that your are facing?

Today, I’m in charge of the Labour Market Trends and Policy Evaluation Unit of the ILO Research Department. The Unit counts with two teams: (1) The Labour Market Trends team is in charge of providing a global overview of recent trends and projections of key labour market indicators. (2) The Policy Evaluation team works to assess the effectiveness of labour market policies and institutions principally through impact evaluations, with views to providing governments with evidence-based policy advice of “what works” and under which specific circumstances in their efforts to improve labour market and social outcomes of men and women.

I guess the challenges that I face at work are twofold. While the lack of decent work opportunities remains a central challenge, the world of work is rapidly changing. These changing paths can unleash unprecedented opportunities, but if not properly managed, they can negatively affect the quantity and quality of available jobs. The Unit that I lead, aims to find improved and transformative labour market policies capable of addressing both these persisting and new challenges, leveraging the opportunities of the changing world of work. This task is constantly challenged by two factors: First, the individual-level data necessary to assess complex policies is not always available, and when it is, it can be difficult to obtain. Second, assessing what works while ensuring this evidence-based policy advice is relevant and applicable, necessitates extensive coordination with governments and social partners. Reaching compromises to produce this rigorous and relevant research, can also be a challenging process. Nevertheless, I am convinced that the final objective justifies the efforts necessary to navigate and find solutions to these challenges.  

4. Books or publications:

For a full list of publications, please see:

Selected Refereed Journal Articles

  • Escudero, V., Kluve, J., López Mourelo, E., Pignatti, C. (2018). “Active labour market programmes in Latin America and the Caribbean: Evidence from a Meta-Analysis”, The Journal of Development Studies, DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2018.1546843.
  • Escudero, V. (2018). “Are active labour market policies effective in activating and integrating low-skilled individuals? An international comparison”, IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Vol. 7(1), pp. 1-26.
  • Escudero, V.; López Mourelo, E. (2018). “The European Youth Guarantee: a systematic review of its implementation across countries/ La Garantie jeunes : éléments d’évaluation et de comparaison internationale”, Travail et Emploi, 2018/1(153). English version available as ILO Working Paper No. 21, ILO (Geneva).
  • López Mourelo, E.; Escudero, V. (2017). “Effectiveness of Active Labor Market Tools in Conditional Cash Transfers Programmes: Evidence for Argentina”, World Development, Vol 94, pp. 422-447.

Selected Books

  • Aleksynska, M.; Belser, P.; Escudero, V.; Ghosheh, N.; Milasi, S.; Parisotto A.; Pignatti, C.; Pintado Nunes, J.; Ritchotte, J.; and Tzannatos, Z. (2018). Decent work in Portugal 2008–18: From crisis to recovery (Geneva: ILO).
  • Escudero, V.; López Mourelo, E.; Pignatti, C. (2016). What works: Active Labour Market Policies in Latin America and the Caribbean, Studies on Growth with Equity (Geneva: ILO).
  • Escudero, V.; Milasi, S.; Pignatti, C.; Silvander, J. (2014). Spain: Growth with Jobs, Studies on Growth with Equity (Geneva: ILO).
  • Escudero, V.; López Mourelo, E. (2014). “Understanding the drivers of the youth labour market in Kenya”, in Malo, M.A. and Sciulli, D. (eds.) Disadvantaged Workers: Empirical Evidence and Labour Policies”, AIEL Series in Labour Economics, Vol. XII, pp. 203-228,Springer.


Twitter: @VeEscudero_