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One Dummy Won't Get it: The Impact of Training Programme Type and Duration on the Employment Chances of the Unemployed in Ireland

  • McGuinness, Seamus
  • O'Connell, Philip J.
  • Kelly, Elish

In the extensive literature on the employment impact of public-sponsored training programmes for the unemployed, insufficient attention has been paid to the differential impact of different types of programmes and training duration. This paper uses a unique dataset, which tracks the labour market position of a cohort of unemployment benefit claimants for almost two years, to evaluate the impact of a range of government-sponsored training courses in Ireland. Overall, we found that those who participated in training were less likely to be unemployed at the end of the two-year study period. However, the average effect of training varied by the type and duration of training received. In general, we found strong positive effects for job-search skills training and medium-to high-level skills courses, a more modest positive effect for general vocational skills programmes (which are not strongly linked to demand in the labour market) and less consistent effects with respect to low-level skills training. We also found that training episodes with lower duration had a more positive impact, with the exception of high-level skills training programmes where longer training durations appear more effective. The results suggest that, in the Irish context, there are potentially substantial benefits to re-orientating unemployment training provision away from standard classroom vocational training towards the medium to high-level skill end of the market and demonstrate that, in most cases, training durations can be reduced without lowering the effectiveness of the interventions.

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Paper provided by Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) in its series Papers with number WP410.

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Date of creation: Sep 2011
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Handle: RePEc:esr:wpaper:wp410
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  1. Fitzenberger, Bernd & Osikominu, Aderonke & Völter, Robert, 2006. "Get training or wait? : long-run employment effects of training programs for the unemployed in West Germany," IAB Discussion Paper 200617, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  2. Lechner, Michael & Miquel, Ruth & Wunsch, Conny, 2005. "The Curse and Blessing of Training the Unemployed in a Changing Economy: the Case of East Germany after Unification," CEPR Discussion Papers 5171, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. McGuinness, Seamus & O'Connell, Philip J. & Kelly, Elish & Walsh, John R., 2011. "Activation in Ireland: An Evaluation of the National Employment Action Plan," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number RS20.
  4. Michael Lechner & Conny Wunsch, 2009. "Are Training Programs More Effective When Unemployment Is High?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(4), pages 653-692, October.
  5. O'Connell, Philip J. & McGuinness, Seamus & Kelly, Elish & Walsh, John R., 2009. "National Profiling of the Unemployed in Ireland," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number RS10.
  6. Jespersen, Svend T. & Munch, Jakob R. & Skipper, Lars, 2008. "Costs and benefits of Danish active labour market programmes," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 859-884, October.
  7. Biewen, Martin & Fitzenberger, Bernd & Osikominu, Aderonke & Waller, Marie, 2007. "Which Program for Whom? Evidence on the Comparative Effectiveness of Public Sponsored Training Programs in Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 07-042, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  8. Nicola Duell & David Grubb & Shruti Singh, 2009. "Activation Policies in Finland," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 98, OECD Publishing.
  9. Denis Conniffe & Vanessa Gash & Philip J. O'Connell, 2000. "Evaluating State Programmes - “Natural Experiments” and Propensity Scores," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 31(4), pages 283-308.
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