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Training, Wages, and Sample Selection: Estimating Sharp Bounds on Treatment Effects

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  • David S. Lee
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    Abstract

    This paper empirically assesses the wage effects of the Job Corps program, one of the largest federally-funded job training programs in the United States. Even with the aid of a randomized experiment, the impact of a training program on wages is difficult to study because of sample selection, a pervasive problem in applied micro-econometric research. Wage rates are only observed for those who are employed, and employment status itself may be affected by the training program. This paper develops an intuitive trimming procedure for bounding average treatment effects in the presence of sample selection. In contrast to existing methods, the procedure requires neither exclusion restrictions nor a bounded support for the outcome of interest. Identification results, estimators, and their asymptotic distribution, are presented. The bounds suggest that the program raised wages, consistent with the notion that the Job Corps raises earnings by increasing human capital, rather than solely through encouraging work. The estimator is generally applicable to typical treatment evaluation problems in which there is non-random sample selection/attrition.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11721.

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    Date of creation: Oct 2005
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    Publication status: published as Lee, David. “Training, Wages, and Sample Selection: Estimating Sharp Bounds on Treatment Effects.” Review of Economic Studies 76(3), 1071-1102. 2009
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11721

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    1. David S. Lee, 2002. "Trimming for Bounds on Treatment Effects with Missing Outcomes," NBER Technical Working Papers 0277, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. John P Martin, 1998. "What Works Among Active Labour Market Policies: Evidence from OECD Countries' Experiences," RBA Annual Conference Volume, in: Guy Debelle & Jeff Borland (ed.), Unemployment and the Australian Labour Market Reserve Bank of Australia.
    3. Mitali Das & Whitney K. Newey & Francis Vella, 2003. "Nonparametric Estimation of Sample Selection Models," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(1), pages 33-58, January.
    4. Alan Krueger & Diane Whitmore, 1999. "The Effect of Attending a Small Class in the Early Grades on College-Test Taking and Middle School Test Results: Evidence from Project STAR," Working Papers 806, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    5. Edward Vytlacil, 2002. "Independence, Monotonicity, and Latent Index Models: An Equivalence Result," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 331-341, January.
    6. Guido Imbens & Charles F. Manski, 2003. "Confidence intervals for partially identified parameters," CeMMAP working papers CWP09/03, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    7. Horowitz, Joel L & Manski, Charles F, 1995. "Identification and Robustness with Contaminated and Corrupted Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(2), pages 281-302, March.
    8. Ahn, Hyungtaik & Powell, James L., 1993. "Semiparametric estimation of censored selection models with a nonparametric selection mechanism," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1-2), pages 3-29, July.
    9. Angrist, Joshua D., 1997. "Conditional independence in sample selection models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 103-112, February.
    10. Joshua D. Angrist & Guido W. Imbens, 1995. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," NBER Technical Working Papers 0118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Andrews, Donald W K & Schafgans, Marcia M A, 1998. "Semiparametric Estimation of the Intercept of a Sample Selection Model," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(3), pages 497-517, July.
    12. Heckman, James J, 1974. "Shadow Prices, Market Wages, and Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 42(4), pages 679-94, July.
    13. Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
    14. Newey, Whitney K. & McFadden, Daniel, 1986. "Large sample estimation and hypothesis testing," Handbook of Econometrics, in: R. F. Engle & D. McFadden (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 36, pages 2111-2245 Elsevier.
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    Cited by:
    1. Michael Lechner & Blaise Melly, 2007. "Earnings Effects of Training Programs," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2007 2007-28, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
    2. Fairlie, Robert W. & Hoffmann, Florian & Oreopoulos, Philip, 2011. "A Community College Instructor Like Me: Race and Ethnicity Interactions in the Classroom," IZA Discussion Papers 5983, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. de Mel, Suresh & McKenzie, David & Woodruff, Christopher, 2007. "Returns to capital in microenterprises : evidence from a field experiment," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4230, The World Bank.
    4. Christopher Blattman & Jeannie Annan, 2010. "The Consequences of Child Soldiering," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 882-898, November.
    5. World Demographic and Ageing Forum & David Bell & Alison Bowes & Axel Heitmueller, 2007. "Did the Introduction of Free Personal Care in Scotland in a Reduction of Informal Care?," Journal Article y:2007:i:1, World Demographic and Ageing Forum.
    6. Brunello, Giorgio & Comi, Simona & Sonedda, Daniela, 2010. "Training Subsidies and the Wage Returns to Continuing Vocational Training: Evidence from Italian Regions," IZA Discussion Papers 4861, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Quintini, Glenda & Martin, John P. & Martin, Sébastien, 2007. "The Changing Nature of the School-to-Work Transition Process in OECD Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 2582, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Sarah Baird & Ephraim Chirwa & Craig McIntosh & Berk Ozler, 2009. "The Short-Term Impacts of as Schooling Cash Transfer Program on the Sexual Behavior of Young Women," Working Papers 2010-10, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.

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