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Estimating the Effects of Length of Exposure to a Training Program: The Case of Job Corps

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Author Info

  • Flores-Lagunes, Alfonso

    ()
    (Syracuse University)

  • Gonzalez, Arturo

    ()
    (Ernst & Young)

  • Neumann, Todd C.

    ()
    (University of California, Merced)

Abstract

Most of the literature on the evaluation of training programs focuses on the effect of participation on a particular outcome (e.g. earnings). The “treatment” is generally represented by a binary variable equal to one if participation in the program occurs, and equal to zero if no participation occurs. While the use of a binary treatment indicator is attractive for ease of interpretation and estimation, it treats all exposure the same. The extent of exposure to the treatment, however, is potentially important in determining the outcome; particularly in training programs where a main feature is the varying length of the training spells of participating individuals. In this paper, we illustrate how recently developed methods for the estimation of causal effects from continuous treatments can be used to learn about the consequences of heterogeneous lengths of enrollment in the evaluation of training programs. We apply these methods to data on Job Corps (JC), America’s largest and most comprehensive job training program for disadvantaged youth. The length of exposure is a significant source of heterogeneity in these data: while the average participation spell in JC is 28 weeks, its standard deviation and interdecile range are 27 and 62 weeks, respectively. We estimate average causal effects of different lengths of exposure to JC using the “generalized propensity score” under the assumption that the length of the individual’s JC spell is randomly assigned, conditional on a rich set of covariates. Finally, using this approach, we document important differences across different spell lengths and across three racial and ethnic groups of participants (blacks, whites and Hispanics) that help understand why the benefits these groups receive from JC are so disparate from estimates derived using traditional methods.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2846.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as 'Estimating the Effects of Length of Exposure to Instruction in a Training Program: The Case of Job Corps ' in: Review of Economics and Statistics, 2011, [Accepted for publication]
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2846

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Keywords: training programs; continuous treatments; generalized propensity score; dose-response function;

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References

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  1. A. Smith, Jeffrey & E. Todd, Petra, 2005. "Does matching overcome LaLonde's critique of nonexperimental estimators?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 305-353.
  2. Dehejia, R.H. & Wahba, S., 1998. "Propensity Score Matching Methods for Non-Experimental Causal Studies," Discussion Papers 1998_02, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  3. Hoyt Bleakley & Aimee Chin, 2004. "Language Skills and Earnings: Evidence from Childhood Immigrants," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 481-496, May.
  4. 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.
  5. Heckman, James J & Smith, Jeffrey, 1997. "Making the Most Out of Programme Evaluations and Social Experiments: Accounting for Heterogeneity in Programme Impacts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 487-535, October.
  6. Helmut Fryges & Joachim Wagner, 2008. "Exports and Productivity Growth: First Evidence from a Continuous Treatment Approach," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 144(4), pages 695-722, December.
  7. Bitler, Marianne P. & Gelbach, Jonah B. & Hoynes, Hilary W., 2005. "What Mean Impacts Miss: Distributional Effects of Welfare Reform Experiments," IZA Discussion Papers 1728, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Michael Gerfin & Michael Lechner, 2002. "A Microeconometric Evaluation of the Active Labour Market Policy in Switzerland," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(482), pages 854-893, October.
  9. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-75, March.
  10. Michael Lechner, 2002. "Program Heterogeneity And Propensity Score Matching: An Application To The Evaluation Of Active Labor Market Policies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 205-220, May.
  11. Kosuke Imai & David A. van Dyk, 2004. "Causal Inference With General Treatment Regimes: Generalizing the Propensity Score," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 99, pages 854-866, January.
  12. McManus, Walter & Gould, William & Welch, Finis, 1983. "Earnings of Hispanic Men: The Role of English Language Proficiency," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(2), pages 101-30, April.
  13. Lechner, Michael, 1999. "Identification and Estimation of Causal Effects of Multiple Treatments Under the Conditional Independence Assumption," IZA Discussion Papers 91, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Hilary W. Hoynes & Marianne P Bitler & Jonah B. Gelbach, 2005. "Distributional Impacts of the Self-Sufficiency Project," Working Papers 530, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  15. Jere R. Behrman & Yingmei Cheng & Petra E. Todd, 2004. "Evaluating Preschool Programs When Length of Exposure to the Program Varies: A Nonparametric Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 108-132, February.
  16. Peter Schochet, 1998. "National Job Corps Study: Eligible Applicants' Perspectives on Job Corps Outreach and Admissions," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 1928, Mathematica Policy Research.
  17. A. Gonzalez, 2000. "The acquisition and labor market value of four English skills: new evidence from NALS," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(3), pages 259-269, 07.
  18. Flores-Lagunes, Alfonso & Gonzalez, Arturo & Neumann, Todd C., 2005. "Learning but Not Earning? The Value of Job Corps Training for Hispanic Youths," IZA Discussion Papers 1638, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Crombrugghe Denis de & Espinoza Henry & Heijke Hans, 2010. "Determinants of dropout behaviour in a job training programme for disadvantaged youths," ROA Research Memorandum 008, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  2. Lechner, Michael & Wiehler, Stephan, 2007. "Does the Order and Timing of Active Labor Market Programs Matter?," IZA Discussion Papers 3092, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Fitzenberger, Bernd & Osikominu, Aderonke & Paul, Marie, 2010. "The Heterogeneous Effects of Training Incidence and Duration on Labor Market Transitions," IZA Discussion Papers 5269, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Conny Wunsch, 2013. "Optimal Use of Labor Market Policies: The Role of Job Search Assistance," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(3), pages 1030-1045, July.
  5. BIA Michela & FLORES Carlos A. & MATTEI Alessandra, 2011. "Nonparametric Estimators of Dose-Response Functions," CEPS/INSTEAD Working Paper Series 2011-40, CEPS/INSTEAD.
  6. Waller, Marie, 2008. "Further training for the unemployed : what can we learn about dropouts from administrative data?," FDZ Methodenreport 200804_en, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  7. Crombrugghe Denis de & Espinoza Henry & Heijke Hans, 2010. "Job-training programmes with low completion rates: The case of Projoven-Peru," ROA Research Memorandum 004, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  8. Flores, Carlos A. & Mitnik, Oscar A., 2009. "Evaluating Nonexperimental Estimators for Multiple Treatments: Evidence from Experimental Data," IZA Discussion Papers 4451, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Doyle, William R., 2011. "Effect of increased academic momentum on transfer rates: An application of the generalized propensity score," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 191-200, February.
  10. Kluve, Jochen & Schneider, Hilmar & Uhlendorff, Arne & Zhao, Zhong, 2007. "Evaluating continuous training programs using the generalized propensity score1," Technical Reports 2007,39, Technische Universität Dortmund, Sonderforschungsbereich 475: Komplexitätsreduktion in multivariaten Datenstrukturen.
  11. Jochen Kluve & Hilmar Schneider & Arne Uhlendorff & Zhong Zhao, 2007. "Evaluating Continuous Training Programs Using the Generalized Propensity Score," Ruhr Economic Papers 0035, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  12. Carlos A. Flores, 2007. "Estimation of Dose-Response Functions and Optimal Doses with a Continuous Treatment," Working Papers 0707, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
  13. Kuhlgatz, Christian & Abdulai, Awudu, 2011. "Determinants and Welfare Impacts of Export Crop Cultivation - Empirical Evidence from Ghana," 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland 114692, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  14. Michael Lechner & Stephan Wiehler, 2013. "Does the Order and Timing of Active Labour Market Programmes Matter?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 75(2), pages 180-212, 04.

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