IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/pubeco/v96y2012i7p569-583.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The impact of an adult education voucher program: Evidence from a randomized field experiment

Author

Listed:
  • Schwerdt, Guido
  • Messer, Dolores
  • Woessmann, Ludger
  • Wolter, Stefan C.

Abstract

Lifelong learning is often promoted in aging societies, but little is known about its returns or governments' ability to advance it. This paper evaluates the effects of a large-scale randomized field experiment issuing vouchers for adult education in Switzerland. We find no significant average effects of the voucher program on earnings, employment, and subsequent education 1year after treatment. But effects are heterogeneous: low-educated individuals are most likely to profit from adult education, but least likely to use the voucher. In addition, the public voucher program appears to crowd out firm-financed training. The findings cast doubt on the effectiveness of untargeted voucher programs in promoting labor market outcomes through adult education.

Suggested Citation

  • Schwerdt, Guido & Messer, Dolores & Woessmann, Ludger & Wolter, Stefan C., 2012. "The impact of an adult education voucher program: Evidence from a randomized field experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(7-8), pages 569-583.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:96:y:2012:i:7:p:569-583 DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2012.03.001
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047272712000229
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. LaLonde, Robert J, 1986. "Evaluating the Econometric Evaluations of Training Programs with Experimental Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 604-620, September.
    2. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Krueger, 2001. "Instrumental Variables and the Search for Identification: From Supply and Demand to Natural Experiments," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(4), pages 69-85, Fall.
    3. David Card & Jochen Kluve & Andrea Weber, 2010. "Active Labour Market Policy Evaluations: A Meta-Analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(548), pages 452-477, November.
    4. James Heckman & Flavio Cunha, 2007. "The Technology of Skill Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 31-47, May.
    5. LaLumia, Sara, 2012. "Tax Preferences for Higher Education and Adult College Enrollment," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, pages 59-89.
    6. Hall, Alastair R & Rudebusch, Glenn D & Wilcox, David W, 1996. "Judging Instrument Relevance in Instrumental Variables Estimation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 37(2), pages 283-298, May.
    7. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 1009-1055.
    8. Duane E. Leigh & Andrew M. Gill, 1997. "Labor Market Returns to Community Colleges: Evidence for Returning Adults," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(2), pages 334-353.
    9. Olivier Blanchard & Michael Kremer, 1997. "Disorganization," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, pages 1091-1126.
    10. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters,in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2001. "Continuous training in Germany," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, pages 523-548.
    12. Michael Lechner & Conny Wunsch, 2009. "Are Training Programs More Effective When Unemployment Is High?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(4), pages 653-692, October.
    13. Jacobson, Louis & LaLonde, Robert & G. Sullivan, Daniel, 2005. "Estimating the returns to community college schooling for displaced workers," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 271-304.
    14. Görlitz, Katja, 2010. "The effect of subsidizing continuous training investments -- Evidence from German establishment data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 789-798, October.
    15. Anders Stenberg & Xavier Luna & Olle Westerlund, 2012. "Can adult education delay retirement from the labour market?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, pages 677-696.
    16. Paul Peterson & William Howell & Patrick J. Wolf & David Campbell, 2003. "School Vouchers. Results from Randomized Experiments," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of School Choice, pages 107-144 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-475, March.
    18. Stock, James H & Wright, Jonathan H & Yogo, Motohiro, 2002. "A Survey of Weak Instruments and Weak Identification in Generalized Method of Moments," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(4), pages 518-529, October.
    19. Jeffrey R Kling & Jeffrey B Liebman & Lawrence F Katz, 2007. "Experimental Analysis of Neighborhood Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(1), pages 83-119, January.
    20. Harley Frazis & Mark A. Loewenstein, 2005. "Reexamining the Returns to Training: Functional Form, Magnitude, and Interpretation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(2).
    21. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1, January.
    22. Heckman, James J. & Lalonde, Robert J. & Smith, Jeffrey A., 1999. "The economics and econometrics of active labor market programs," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1865-2097 Elsevier.
    23. 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.
    24. Alison L. Booth & Mark L. Bryan, 2005. "Testing Some Predictions of Human Capital Theory: New Training Evidence from Britain," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 391-394, May.
    25. Bassanini, Andrea & Booth, Alison L. & Brunello, Giorgio & De Paola, Maria & Leuven, Edwin, 2005. "Workplace Training in Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 1640, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    26. Stenberg, Anders, 2011. "Using longitudinal data to evaluate publicly provided formal education for low skilled," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1262-1280.
    27. Cecilia Elena Rouse, 1998. "Private School Vouchers and Student Achievement: An Evaluation of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(2), pages 553-602.
    28. Stenberg, Anders & Westerlund, Olle, 2008. "Does comprehensive education work for the long-term unemployed," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 54-67, February.
    29. John M. Barron & Mark C. Berger & Dan A. Black, 1997. "On-the-Job Training," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number ojt.
    30. Heinrich, Carolyn J. & Mueser, Peter R. & Troske, Kenneth & Jeon, Kyung-Seong & Kahvecioglu, Daver C., 2009. "New Estimates of Public Employment and Training Program Net Impacts: A Nonexperimental Evaluation of the Workforce Investment Act Program," IZA Discussion Papers 4569, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    31. Cragg, John G. & Donald, Stephen G., 1993. "Testing Identifiability and Specification in Instrumental Variable Models," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(02), pages 222-240, April.
    32. Edwin Leuven & Hessel Oosterbeek, 2008. "An alternative approach to estimate the wage returns to private-sector training," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(4), pages 423-434.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. repec:zbw:rwirep:0553 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Görlitz, Katja & Tamm, Marcus, 2017. "Information, financial aid and training participation: Evidence from a randomized field experiment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 138-148.
    3. Marc van der Steeg & Roel van Elk, 2015. "The effect of schooling vouchers on higher education enrollment and completion of teachers: A regression discontinuity analysis," CPB Discussion Paper 305, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    4. Baghestanian, Sascha & Popov, Sergey, 2014. "On Publication, Refereeing and Working Hard," MPRA Paper 58539, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. repec:eee:joecag:v:7:y:2016:i:c:p:69-86 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Peters, Jörg & Langbein, Jörg & Roberts, Gareth, 2016. "Policy evaluation, randomized controlled trials, and external validity—A systematic review," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 51-54.
    7. Hidalgo, Diana & Oosterbeek, Hessel & Webbink, Dinand, 2014. "The impact of training vouchers on low-skilled workers," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 117-128.
    8. Görlitz, Katja & Tamm, Marcus, 2015. "The Pecuniary and Non-Pecuniary Returns to Voucher-Financed Training," IZA Discussion Papers 8990, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Cain Polidano & Justin van de Ven & Sarah Voitchovsky, 2017. "The Power of Self-Interest: Effects of Education and Training Entitlements in Later-Life," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2017n12, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    10. Dauth, Christine, 2017. "Regional discontinuities and the effectiveness of further training subsidies for low-skilled employees," IAB Discussion Paper 201707, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    11. Wiljan van den Berge & Egbert Jongen & Karen van der Wiel, 2017. "Using Tax Deductions to Promote Lifelong Learning: Real and Shifting Responses," CPB Discussion Paper 353, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    12. Nadine Fabritz & Oliver Falck, 2016. "Human Capital in Croatia," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 17(1), pages 39-42, April.
    13. Dauth, Christine, 2016. "Do low-skilled employed workers benefit from further training subsidies?," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145533, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    14. Görlitz, Katja & Tamm, Marcus, 2016. "The returns to voucher-financed training on wages, employment and job tasks," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 51-62.
    15. Duncan McVicar & Cain Polidano, 2015. "If You Get What You Want, Do You Get What You Need? Course Choice and Achievement Effects of a Vocational Education and Training Voucher Scheme," Economics Working Papers 15-01, Queen's Management School, Queen's University Belfast.
    16. Justin van de Ven & Cain Polidano & Sarah Voitchovsky, 2017. "The power of self-interest: Effects of subsidies for adult education and training," National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) Discussion Papers 480, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
    17. Stenberg, Anders & Westerlund, Olle, 2016. "Flexibility at a cost – Should governments stimulate tertiary education for adults?," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 7(C), pages 69-86.
    18. Katja Görlitz & Marcus Tamm, 2015. "The Pecuniary and Non-pecuniary Returns to Voucher-financed Training," Ruhr Economic Papers 0553, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    19. Ruhose, Jens & Thomsen, Stephan, 2017. "Non-Monetary Benefits of Continuous Training," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168169, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Field experiment; Voucher; Adult education; LATE; Switzerland;

    JEL classification:

    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • H43 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Project Evaluation; Social Discount Rate
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • M53 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Training

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:96:y:2012:i:7:p:569-583. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578 .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.