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Do experimental and nonexperimental evaluations give different answers about the effectiveness of government-funded training programs?

  • David H. Greenberg

    (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)

  • Charles Michalopoulos

    (MDRC, New York City)

  • Philip K. Robin

    (University of Miami, Florida)

This paper uses meta-analysis to investigate whether random assignment (or experimental) evaluations of voluntary government-funded training programs for the disadvantaged have produced different conclusions than nonexperimental evaluations. Information includes several hundred estimates from 31 evaluations of 15 programs that operated between 1964 and 1998. The results suggest that experimental and nonexperimental evaluations yield similar conclusions about the effectiveness of training programs, but that estimates of average effects for youth and possibly men might have been larger in experimental studies. The results also suggest that variation among nonexprimental estimates of program effects is similar to variation among experimental estimates for men and youth, but not for women (for whom it seems to be larger), although small sample sizes make the estimated differences somewhat imprecise for all three groups. The policy implications of the findings are discussed. © 2006 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/pam.20190
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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

Volume (Year): 25 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 523-552

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Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:25:y:2006:i:3:p:523-552
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/34787/home

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  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 604-20, September.
  2. Burt S. Barnow, 1987. "The Impact of CETA Programs on Earnings: A Review of the Literature," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 22(2), pages 157-193.
  3. Charles Michalopoulos & Howard S. Bloom & Carolyn J. Hill, 2004. "Can Propensity-Score Methods Match the Findings from a Random Assignment Evaluation of Mandatory Welfare-to-Work Programs?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 156-179, February.
  4. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra, 1998. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(2), pages 261-94, April.
  5. Robert S. Gay & Michael E. Borus, 1980. "Validating Performance Indicators for Employment and Training Programs," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 15(1), pages 29-48.
  6. Bassi, Laurie J, 1984. "Estimating the Effect of Training Programs with Non-Random Selection," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(1), pages 36-43, February.
  7. Ashenfelter, Orley C, 1978. "Estimating the Effect of Training Programs on Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(1), pages 47-57, February.
  8. Daniel Friedlander & David H. Greenberg & Philip K. Robins, 1997. "Evaluating Government Training Programs for the Economically Disadvantaged," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(4), pages 1809-1855, December.
  9. Kiefer, Nicholas M., 1978. "Federally subsidized occupational training and the employment and earnings of male trainees," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 111-125, August.
  10. repec:mpr:mprres:3694 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Howard S. Bloom, 1984. "Estimating the Effect of Job-Training Programs, Using Longitudinal Data: Ashenfelter's Findings Reconsidered," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(4), pages 544-556.
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