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Do experimental and nonexperimental evaluations give different answers about the effectiveness of government-funded training programs?

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  • David H. Greenberg

    (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)

  • Charles Michalopoulos

    (MDRC, New York City)

  • Philip K. Robin

    (University of Miami, Florida)

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    Abstract

    This paper uses meta-analysis to investigate whether random assignment (or experimental) evaluations of voluntary government-funded training programs for the disadvantaged have produced different conclusions than nonexperimental evaluations. Information includes several hundred estimates from 31 evaluations of 15 programs that operated between 1964 and 1998. The results suggest that experimental and nonexperimental evaluations yield similar conclusions about the effectiveness of training programs, but that estimates of average effects for youth and possibly men might have been larger in experimental studies. The results also suggest that variation among nonexprimental estimates of program effects is similar to variation among experimental estimates for men and youth, but not for women (for whom it seems to be larger), although small sample sizes make the estimated differences somewhat imprecise for all three groups. The policy implications of the findings are discussed. © 2006 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/pam.20190
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

    Volume (Year): 25 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 523-552

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    Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:25:y:2006:i:3:p:523-552

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    Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/34787/home

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    1. Daniel Friedlander & David H. Greenberg & Philip K. Robins, 1997. "Evaluating Government Training Programs for the Economically Disadvantaged," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(4), pages 1809-1855, December.
    2. Steven Glazerman & Dan M. Levy & David Myers, 2003. "Nonexperimental Versus Experimental Estimates of Earnings Impacts," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 3694, Mathematica Policy Research.
    3. Ashenfelter, Orley C, 1978. "Estimating the Effect of Training Programs on Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(1), pages 47-57, February.
    4. Howard S. Bloom, 1984. "Estimating the Effect of Job-Training Programs, Using Longitudinal Data: Ashenfelter's Findings Reconsidered," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(4), pages 544-556.
    5. Bassi, Laurie J, 1984. "Estimating the Effect of Training Programs with Non-Random Selection," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(1), pages 36-43, February.
    6. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra, 1998. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(2), pages 261-94, April.
    7. Kiefer, Nicholas M., 1978. "Federally subsidized occupational training and the employment and earnings of male trainees," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 111-125, August.
    8. Robert S. Gay & Michael E. Borus, 1980. "Validating Performance Indicators for Employment and Training Programs," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 15(1), pages 29-48.
    9. LaLonde, Robert J, 1986. "Evaluating the Econometric Evaluations of Training Programs with Experimental Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 604-20, September.
    10. Charles Michalopoulos & Howard S. Bloom & Carolyn J. Hill, 2004. "Can Propensity-Score Methods Match the Findings from a Random Assignment Evaluation of Mandatory Welfare-to-Work Programs?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 156-179, February.
    11. Burt S. Barnow, 1987. "The Impact of CETA Programs on Earnings: A Review of the Literature," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 22(2), pages 157-193.
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    Cited by:
    1. Carla Haelermans & Lex Borghans, 2012. "Wage Effects of On-the-Job Training: A Meta-Analysis," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 50(3), pages 502-528, 09.
    2. Haelermans Carla & Borghans Lex, 2011. "Wage effects of on-the-job training; a meta-analysis," Research Memorandum 054, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
    3. Gary King & Emmanuela Gakidou & Nirmala Ravishankar & Ryan T. Moore & Jason Lakin & Manett Vargas & Martha Mar�a Téllez-Rojo & Juan Eugenio Hernández �vila & Mauricio Hernández �vila & Hécto, 2007. "A “politically robust” experimental design for public policy evaluation, with application to the Mexican Universal Health Insurance program," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(3), pages 479-506.
    4. Stenberg, Anders & Westerlund, Olle, 2014. "The long-term earnings consequences of general vs. specific training of the unemployed," Working Paper Series 2014:3, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    5. Henrik Hansen & Ninja Ritter Klejnstrup & Ole Winckler Andersen, 2011. "A Comparison of Model-based and Design-based Impact Evaluations of Interventions in Developing Countries," IFRO Working Paper 2011/16, University of Copenhagen, Department of Food and Resource Economics.
    6. Andersson, Fredrik & Holzer, Harry J. & Lane, Julia & Rosenblum, David & Smith, Jeffrey A., 2013. "Does Federally-Funded Job Training Work? Nonexperimental Estimates of WIA Training Impacts Using Longitudinal Data on Workers and Firms," IZA Discussion Papers 7621, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Haelermans Carla & Borghans Lex, 2011. "Wage effects of on-the-job training. A meta-analysis," ROA Research Memorandum 011, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).

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