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Choosing Among Alternative Nonexperimental Methods For Estimating The Impact Of Social Programs: The Case Of Manpower Training

  • HECKMAN, J.J.
  • HOTZ, V.J.

The recent literature on evaluating manpower training programs demonstrates that alternative nonexperimental estimators of the same program produce a array of estimates of program impact. These findings have led to the call for experiments to be used to perform credible program evaluations. Missing in all of the recent pessimistic analyses of nonexperimental methods is any systematic discussion of how to choose among competing estimators. This paper explores the value of simple specification tests in selecting an appropriate nonexperimental estimator. A reanalysis of the National Supported Work Demonstration Data previously analyzed by proponents of social experiments reveals that a simple testing procedure eliminates the range of nonexperimental estimators that are at variance with the experimental estimates of program impact.

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Paper provided by Chicago - Economics Research Center in its series University of Chicago - Economics Research Center with number 88-12.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: 1988
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:chicer:88-12
Contact details of provider: Postal: UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, ECONOMICS RESEARCH CENTER, NORC, CHICAGO ILLINOIS 60637 U.S.A.
Phone: (773)834-0761
Web page: http://economics.uchicago.edu/research.shtml

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  1. Orley Ashenfelter & David Card, 1984. "Using the Longitudinal Structure of Earnings to Estimate the Effect of Training Programs," NBER Working Papers 1489, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Gary Burtless & Larry L. Orr, 1986. "Are Classical Experiments Needed for Manpower Policy," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(4), pages 606-639.
  3. James J. Heckman & V. Joseph Hotz & Marcelo Dabos, 1987. "Do We Need Experimental Data To Evaluate the Impact of Manpower Training On Earnings?," Evaluation Review, , vol. 11(4), pages 395-427, August.
  4. Burt S. Barnow, 1987. "The Impact of CETA Programs on Earnings: A Review of the Literature," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 22(2), pages 157-193.
  5. LaLonde, Robert J, 1986. "Evaluating the Econometric Evaluations of Training Programs with Experimental Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 604-20, September.
  6. Robert J. LaLonde, 2003. "Employment and Training Programs," NBER Chapters, in: Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, pages 517-586 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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