Una valutazione di impatto delle politiche formative regionali: il caso piemontese
Impact evaluation plays a major role in determining the effectiveness of public policies. In fact, information about the program net effect is a crucial element in policy planning. Accordingly, as advocated by the Barca Report, impact evaluation spreading and its use in programming on European Funds is even more urgent in the current socio-economic context, characterized by scarce financial resources, which claim for increasing effectiveness and efficiency. In particular, evaluation is useful for investment programs in human capital and vocational training policies. The latter, mostly financed through the ESF resources, play a crucial role in fighting against unemployment and social exclusion. Italian public administration must start thinking in terms of impact assessment and ex-ante evaluation, in order to build policies boosting the territorial development and cohesion, while simultaneously redeeming the quality of the public action. In this context, the paper presents an impact assessment carried out on vocational training courses, which the Piedmont Region co-financed by the ESF, discussing the methodological feasibility and proposing a quasi-experimental evaluation strategy on the job placement of vocational training students. The authors illustrate the design operational choices and the implementation of the assessment, stating the advantages and disadvantages. To this extent, the sampling strategy is explained, with particular attention to the identification of a proper control sample, finally identified on the basis of the course drop-outs. The paper proposes an accurate description of gross and net impact evaluation strategies. Gross impact evaluation is carried out through an analysis of the employment outcomes in the mid-term and it represents just a crude measure of training effects. Net impact evaluation is estimated through net employment differentials between the main and the control sample, as well as through multivariate probit analysis, which investigates the effects of individual characteristics on the probability of being employed a year later the end of the course. The selection bias problem is discussed, illustrating the strategy adopted to measure and counteract its effects. In conclusion, the authors distill this research experience through a series of lectures about both the methods and the process of evaluating training effectiveness.
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