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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. John P. Martin, 1998. "What Works Among Active Labour Market Policies: Evidence From OECD Countries' Experiences," OECD Labour Market and Social Policy Occasional Papers 35, OECD Publishing.
    2. 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..
    3. Guido W. Imbens & Charles F. Manski, 2004. "Confidence Intervals for Partially Identified Parameters," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(6), pages 1845-1857, November.
    4. Heckman, James J, 1974. "Shadow Prices, Market Wages, and Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 42(4), pages 679-94, July.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Angrist, Joshua D., 1997. "Conditional independence in sample selection models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 103-112, February.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. Edward Vytlacil, 2002. "Independence, Monotonicity, and Latent Index Models: An Equivalence Result," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 331-341, January.
    12. 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.
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. David S. Lee, 2002. "Trimming for Bounds on Treatment Effects with Missing Outcomes," NBER Technical Working Papers 0277, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:
    1. 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.
    2. Lechner, Michael & Melly, Blaise, 2007. "Earnings Effects of Training Programs," IZA Discussion Papers 2926, 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," IZA Discussion Papers 2934, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Christopher Blattman, 2006. "The Consequences of Child Soldiering," HiCN Working Papers 22, Households in Conflict Network.
    5. Robert Fairlie & Florian Hoffmann & Philip Oreopoulos, 2011. "A Community College Instructor Like Me: Race and Ethnicity Interactions in the Classroom," NBER Working Papers 17381, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    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. 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.
    9. Justin McCrary & Heather Royer, 2006. "The Effect of Female Education on Fertility and Infant Health: Evidence from School Entry Policies Using Exact Date of Birth," NBER Working Papers 12329, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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