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Swedish Labour Market Training and the Duration of Unemployment

  • Richardson, Katarina
  • van den Berg, Gerard J

The vocational employment training program is the most ambitious and expensive training program in Sweden and a cornerstone of labor market policy. We analyze its causal effects on the individual transition rate from unemployment to employment by exploiting variation in the timing of treatment and outcome, dealing with selectivity on unobservables. We demonstrate the appropriateness of this approach in our context by studying the process leading to enrollment. We also develop a model allowing for duration dependence and unobserved heterogeneity (leading to spurious duration dependence) in the treatment effect itself, and we prove non-parametric identification. The data cover the population and include multiple unemployment spells for many individuals. The results indicate a large significantly positive effect on exit to work shortly after exiting the program. The effect at the individual level diminishes after some weeks. When taking account of the time spent in the program, the effect on the mean unemployment duration is often close to zero.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5895.

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Date of creation: Oct 2006
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5895
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  1. Robert G. Fay, 1996. "Enhancing the Effectiveness of Active Labour Market Policies: Evidence from Programme Evaluations in OECD Countries," OECD Labour Market and Social Policy Occasional Papers 18, OECD Publishing.
  2. Jaap H. Abbring & Gerard J. van den Berg, 2003. "The Nonparametric Identification of Treatment Effects in Duration Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1491-1517, 09.
  3. Jaap H. Abbring & Gerard J. van den Berg, 2004. "Analyzing the effect of dynamically assigned treatments using duration models, binary treatment models, and panel data models," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 29(1), pages 5-20, January.
  4. Carling, Kenneth & Edin, Per-Anders & Harkman, Anders & Holmlund, Bertil, 1996. "Unemployment duration, unemployment benefits, and labor market programs in Sweden," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 313-334, March.
  5. Matz Dahlberg & Anders Forslund, 2005. "Direct Displacement Effects of Labour Market Programmes," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(3), pages 475-494, 09.
  6. Van den Berg, Gerard J., 2001. "Duration models: specification, identification and multiple durations," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 55, pages 3381-3460 Elsevier.
  7. Brännäs, Kurt, 2000. "Estimation in a Duration Model for Evaluating Educational Programs," IZA Discussion Papers 103, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. 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.
  9. James J. Heckman & Christopher R. Taber, 1994. "Econometric Mixture Models and More General Models for Unobservables in Duration Analysis," NBER Technical Working Papers 0157, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Ridder, Geert, 1990. "The Non-parametric Identification of Generalized Accelerated Failure-Time Models," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 167-81, April.
  11. Edin, P-A. & Holmlund, B., 1990. "Unemployment, Vacancies And Labour Market Programmes: Swedish Evidence," Papers 1990j, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  12. Regner, Hakan, 2002. "A nonexperimental evaluation of training programs for the unemployed in Sweden," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 187-206, April.
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