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Are Classical Experiments Needed for Manpower Policy

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Author Info

  • Gary Burtless
  • Larry L. Orr

Abstract

The critical element that distinguishes classical experiments from all other modes of analysis is the random assignment of treatment to enrollees in a study. This paper examines the major methodological advantages of random assignment for the purpose of estimating the effectiveness of current manpower policy. It also reviews the claimed methodological and ethical objections to experiments. The main valid objection to an experiment is neither methodological nor ethical, it is the experiment's cost in relation to that of nonexperimental methods of analysis. The authors argue that the offsetting gain from experimentation is the inherent reliability of experimental estimates of treatment effects. The paper offers a simple framework for deciding whether the improved reliability of treatment-effect estimates is worth the added cost of experimentation. It concludes with an assessment of the actual value of experiments for evaluating current manpower policies.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Journal of Human Resources.

Volume (Year): 21 (1986)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 606-639

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Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:21:y:1986:i:4:p:606-639

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Web page: http://jhr.uwpress.org/

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Cited by:
  1. Mona Said, 2003. "The Distribution of Gender and Public Sector Pay Premia: Evidence from the Egyptian Organised Sector," Working Papers 132, Department of Economics, SOAS, University of London, UK.
  2. Jeffrey Smith & Petra Todd, 2003. "Does Matching Overcome Lalonde's Critique of Nonexperimental Estimators?," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20035, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  3. R. Hujer & K.-O. Maurer & M. Wellner, 1997. "The Impact of Training on Unemployment Duration in West Germany -Combining a Discrete Hazard Rate Model with Matching Techniques-," Econometrics 9705001, EconWPA.
  4. Guillaume Allegre, 2008. "L'expérimentation sociale des incitations financières à l'emploi : questions méthodologiques et leçons des expériences nord-américaines," Sciences Po publications 2008-22, Sciences Po.
  5. Cockx, Bart & Ridder, Geert, 2001. "Social Employment of Welfare Recipients in Belgium: An Evaluation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(470), pages 322-52, April.
  6. repec:iab:iabmit:v:33:i:3:p:345-356 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Lechner, Michael, 1995. "Effects of continuous off-the-job training in East Germany after unification," ZEW Discussion Papers 95-27, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  8. Guillaume Allègre, 2008. "L’expérimentation sociale des incitations financières à l’emploi : questions méthodologiques et leçons des expériences nord-américaines," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2008-22, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
  9. Jochen Kluve & Christoph M. Schmidt, 2002. "Can training and employment subsidies combat European unemployment?," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 17(35), pages 409-448, October.
  10. D. Greenberg & R. H. Meyer & M. Wiseman, . "Prying the lid from the black box: Plotting evaluation strategy for welfare employment and training programs," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 999-93, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  11. Carol Harvey & Michael J. Camasso & Radha Jagannathan, 2000. "Evaluating Welfare Reform Waivers under Section 1115," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 165-188, Fall.
  12. Robert J. LaLonde, 2003. "Employment and Training Programs," NBER Chapters, in: Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, pages 517-586 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. James J. Heckman, 1989. "Choosing Among Alternative Nonexperimental Methods for Estimating the Impact of Social Programs: The Case of Manpower Training," NBER Working Papers 2861, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Jeffrey Smith, 2000. "A Critical Survey of Empirical Methods for Evaluating Active Labor Market Policies," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 136(III), pages 247-268, September.

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