In 1997, the Swiss government introduced active labor market programs on a large scale to improve the job chances of unemployed workers. This paper evaluates the effect of these programs on the duration of unemployment. Our evaluation methodology allows for selectivity affecting the inflow into programs. We find that in most cases the programs do not reduce the duration of unemployment. The exception is the program of temporary wage subsidies which reduces unemployment, but only for foreign workers. From a cost-benefit point of view, temporary wage subsidies seem to be the only program worthwhile pursuing.