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Should We Teach Old Dogs New Tricks? The Impact of Community College Retraining on Older Displaced Workers

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  • Robert LaLonde

Abstract

This paper estimates the returns to retraining for older displaced workers—those 35 or older—by estimating the impact of community college schooling on earnings. Our analysis relies on longitudinal administrative records covering workers displaced from jobs in Washington State during the early 1990s. We find older displaced workers participate in community college schooling at lower rates than younger workers. But, among those who participate, the impact on quarterly earnings for older and younger displaced workers is similar. We estimate one academic year of community college schooling increases long-term earnings by about 7 percent for older males and by about 10 percent for older females. Although these percentages are consistent with those reported in the schooling literature, estimates of the social internal rates of return from this retraining may differ significantly among older and younger workers because of differences in their work lives and their opportunity costs of retraining.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert LaLonde, 2004. "Should We Teach Old Dogs New Tricks? The Impact of Community College Retraining on Older Displaced Workers," Working Papers 0412, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  • Handle: RePEc:har:wpaper:0412
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    Cited by:

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    2. James Albrecht & Gerard van den Berg & Susan Vroman, 2009. "The Aggregate Labor Market Effects of the Swedish Knowledge Lift Program," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(1), pages 129-146, January.
    3. Palameta, Boris & Zhang, Xuelin, 2006. "Participation in Adult Schooling and Its Earnings Impact in Canada," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2006276e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    4. Stenberg, Anders & Westerlund, Olle, 2016. "Flexibility at a cost – Should governments stimulate tertiary education for adults?," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 7(C), pages 69-86.
    5. Anders Stenberg & Olle Westerlund, 2015. "The long-term earnings consequences of general vs. specific training of the unemployed," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-26, December.
    6. Albrecht, James & van den Berg, Gerard J & Vroman, Susan, 2004. "The knowledge lift: The Swedish adult education program that aimed to eliminate low worker skill levels," Working Paper Series 2004:17, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    7. Kristin F. Butcher & Kyung H. Park & Anne Morrison Piehl, 2017. "Comparing Apples to Oranges: Differences in Women’s and Men’s Incarceration and Sentencing Outcomes," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(S1), pages 201-234.
    8. Anders Stenberg & Xavier Luna & Olle Westerlund, 2014. "Does Formal Education for Older Workers Increase Earnings? — Evidence Based on Rich Data and Long-term Follow-up," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 28(2), pages 163-189, June.

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