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.
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