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Learning but Not Earning? The Value of Job Corps Training for Hispanic Youths

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Author Info

  • Flores-Lagunes, Alfonso

    ()
    (Syracuse University)

  • Gonzalez, Arturo

    ()
    (Ernst & Young)

  • Neumann, Todd C.

    ()
    (University of California, Merced)

Abstract

The National Job Corps Study (NJCS) was a four-year longitudinal social experiment that randomized over 15,000 Job Corps eligible applicants into treatment and control groups. Experimental estimators revealed a positive impact of Job Corps training in the weekly earnings of white and black youths 48 months after randomization, but not for Hispanic youths. This study considers explanations for why Job Corps does not increase the earnings of Hispanics in the NJCS. First, we show that the randomization in the NJCS did not create comparable treatment and control groups for Hispanics. We then apply alternative estimators that adjust for systematic differences in observable and time-invariant characteristics, but still find statistically insignificant effects of Job Corps 48 months after randomization. Finally, we estimate the "net treatment effect" controlling for post-treatment experience to advance an explanation for why Job Corps fails to benefit Hispanics 48 months after randomization: non-treated Hispanics earn a significant amount of labor market experience during the study compared to all other groups. This higher level of experience translates into higher earnings that Hispanic treated individuals are not able to overcome by the end of the study, despite having higher earnings growth in the 48-month period of any group.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1638.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Economic Inquiry, 2010, 48 (3), 651-667
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1638

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Keywords: racial earnings gap; job training programs; Job Corps; Hispanic earnings gap;

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References

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  1. Heckman, James J & Smith, Jeffrey A, 1999. "The Pre-programme Earnings Dip and the Determinants of Participation in a Social Programme. Implications for Simple Programme Evaluation Strategies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(457), pages 313-48, July.
  2. Peter R. Mueser & Kenneth Troske & Alexey Gorislavsky, 2003. "Using State Administrative Data to Measure Program Performance," Working Papers 0309, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
  3. Trejo, Stephen J, 1997. "Why Do Mexican Americans Earn Low Wages?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(6), pages 1235-68, December.
  4. V. Joseph Hotz & Guido W. Imbens & Jacob A. Klerman, 2000. "The Long-Term Gains from GAIN: A Re-Analysis of the Impacts of the California GAIN Program," NBER Working Papers 8007, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. James Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Jeffrey Smith & Petra Todd, 1998. "Characterizing Selection Bias Using Experimental Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(5), pages 1017-1098, September.
  7. Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2002. "Simple and Bias-Corrected Matching Estimators for Average Treatment Effects," NBER Technical Working Papers 0283, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Guido W. Imbens, 2004. "Nonparametric Estimation of Average Treatment Effects Under Exogeneity: A Review," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 4-29, February.
  9. Terry Johnson & Mark Gritz & Russell Jackson & John Burghardt & Carol Boussy & Jan Leonard & Carlyn Orians, 1999. "National Job Corps Study: Report on the Process Analysis," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 1966, Mathematica Policy Research.
  10. Peter Z. Schochet, 2001. "National Job Corps Study: Methodological Appendixes on the Impact Analysis," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 2949, Mathematica Policy Research.
  11. Alberto Abadie & David Drukker & Jane Leber Herr & Guido W. Imbens, 2004. "Implementing matching estimators for average treatment effects in Stata," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 4(3), pages 290-311, September.
  12. Sascha O. Becker & Andrea Ichino, 2002. "Estimation of average treatment effects based on propensity scores," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 2(4), pages 358-377, November.
  13. Heather Antecol & Kelly Bedard, 2004. "The Racial Wage Gap: The Importance of Labor Force Attachment Differences across Black, Mexican, and White Men," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  14. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 1998. "Propensity Score Matching Methods for Non-experimental Causal Studies," NBER Working Papers 6829, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. John Burghardt & Sheena McConnell & Alicia Meckstroth & Peter Schochet & Terry Johnson & John Homrighausen, 1999. "National Job Corps Study: Report on Study Implementation," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 1968, Mathematica Policy Research.
  16. James Heckman & Neil Hohmann & Jeffrey Smith & Michael Khoo, 2000. "Substitution And Dropout Bias In Social Experiments: A Study Of An Influential Social Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(2), pages 651-694, May.
  17. James J. Heckman & Jeffrey A. Smith, 1999. "The Pre-Program Earnings Dip and the Determinants of Participation in a Social Program: Implications for Simple Program Evaluation Strategies," NBER Working Papers 6983, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. John Burghardt & Peter Z. Schochet & Sheena McConnell & Terry Johnson & R. Mark Gritz & Steven Glazerman & John Homrighausen & Russell Jackson, 2001. "Does Job Corps Work? Summary of the National Job Corps Study," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 2952, Mathematica Policy Research.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Hahn, Jinyong & Hirano, Keisuke & Karlan, Dean, 2008. "Adaptive Experimental Design Using the Propensity Score," MPRA Paper 8315, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Flores-Lagunes, Alfonso & Gonzalez, Arturo & Neumann, Todd C., 2007. "Estimating the Effects of Length of Exposure to a Training Program: The Case of Job Corps," IZA Discussion Papers 2846, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Carlos A. Flores & Alfonso Flores-Lagunes & Arturo Gonzalez & Todd C. Neumann, 2009. "Estimating the Effects of Lenght of Exposure to Traning Program: The Case of Job Corps," Working Papers 2010-3, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
  4. Flores, Carlos A. & Flores-Lagunes, Alfonso, 2009. "Identification and Estimation of Causal Mechanisms and Net Effects of a Treatment under Unconfoundedness," IZA Discussion Papers 4237, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Carlos A. Flores & Alfonso Flores-Lagunes, 2007. "Identification and Estimation of Casual Mechanisms and Net Effects of a Treatment," Working Papers 0706, University of Miami, Department of Economics.

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