Evaluating the Impact of MEP Services on Establishment Performance: A Preliminary Empirical Investigation
This work examines the impact of manufacturing extension services on establishment productivity. It builds on an earlier study conducted by Jarmin in the 1990s, by matching the Census of Manufacturers (CMF) with the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) customer and activity datasets to generate treatment and comparison groups for analysis. The scope of the study is the period 1997 to 2002, which was a period of economic downturn in the manufacturing sector and budgetary challenges for the MEP. The paper presents some preliminary findings from this analysis. Both lagged dependent variable (LDV) and difference in difference (DiD) models are employed to estimate the relationship between manufacturing extension and labor productivity. The results presented are inconclusive and paint a mixed picture as they demonstrate the benefits and limitations of using Census microdata in program evaluation. They also point to the need to conduct analyses that could help to better understand the dynamic impact of MEP services.
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