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The effectiveness of vocational training policies: methods for an impact evaluation



Net impact evaluation in a non-experimental context is discussed, addressing the case of vocational training policies provided by Piedmont Region, in the North-West Italy. Impact evaluation plays a major role in determining the effectiveness of public policies, being the net effect a crucial element in policy planning. Accordingly, the spreading of impact evaluation and its use in the ESF programming is particularly urgent in the current socio-economic context, which is characterized by scarce financial resources claiming for increasing effectiveness and efficiency. In particular, evaluation is useful for investment programs in vocational training policies, which are mostly financed through the ESF and play a crucial role in the fight against unemployment and social exclusion. The paper presents an impact assessment on vocational training courses provided by Piedmont Region, discussing its methodological viability and proposing a quasi-experimental evaluation strategy on the employment outcomes of the trainees. The authors discuss the operational choices and the implementation of the assessment, stating the advantages and disadvantages. Particular attention is devoted to the identification of the control sample. Gross and net impact evaluation strategies are explained, discussing the selection bias problem. In conclusion, the authors explain the major lessons learned in both the methods and the process of evaluating training effectiveness.

Suggested Citation

  • Elena Ragazzi & Lisa Sella, 2013. "The effectiveness of vocational training policies: methods for an impact evaluation," CERIS Working Paper 201314, Institute for Economic Research on Firms and Growth - Moncalieri (TO) ITALY -NOW- Research Institute on Sustainable Economic Growth - Moncalieri (TO) ITALY.
  • Handle: RePEc:csc:cerisp:201314

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. R. Bellio & E. Gori, 2003. "Impact evaluation of job training programmes: Selection bias in multilevel models," Journal of Applied Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(8), pages 893-907.
    3. James J. Heckman, 1976. "The Common Structure of Statistical Models of Truncation, Sample Selection and Limited Dependent Variables and a Simple Estimator for Such Models," NBER Chapters,in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 5, number 4, pages 475-492 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Kluve, Jochen, 2010. "The effectiveness of European active labor market programs," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 904-918, December.
    5. 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.
    6. Erich Battistin & Enrico Rettore, 2002. "Testing for programme effects in a regression discontinuity design with imperfect compliance," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 165(1), pages 39-57.
    7. Stephen H. Bell & Larry l. Orr & John D. Blomquist & Glen G. Cain, 1995. "Program Applicants as a Comparison Group in Evaluating Training Programs: Theory and a Test," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number pacg, November.
    8. Michele Lalla, 2005. "Il disegno della seconda indagine sulle condizioni economiche e sociali delle famiglie nella Provincia di Modena," Department of Economics 0512, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".
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    More about this item


    impact evaluation; regional policies; vocational training;

    JEL classification:

    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • R58 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Regional Development Planning and Policy

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