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Duration dependence versus unobserved heterogeneity in treatment effects: Swedish labor market training and the transition rate to employment

  • Richardson, Katarina

    (Swedish Ministry of Finance)

  • van den Berg, Gerard J

    ()

    (Department of Economics, VU University Amsterdam)

The vocational employment training program is the most expensive training program in Sweden and a cornerstone of labor market policy. We analyze its causal effects on the individual transition rate from unemployment to employment by exploiting variation in the timing of treatment and outcome, dealing with selectivity on unobservables. We demonstrate the appropriateness of this approach in our context by studying the enrollment process. We develop a model allowing for duration dependence and unobserved heterogeneity (leading to spurious duration dependence) in the treatment effect itself, and we prove non-parametric identification. The data cover the population and include multiple unemployment spells for many individuals. The results indicate a large significantly positive effect on exit to work shortly after exiting the program. The effect at the inidividual level diminishes after some weeks. When taking account of the time spent in the program, the effect on the mean unemployment duration is small.

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Paper provided by IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy in its series Working Paper Series with number 2008:7.

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Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: 27 Apr 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published as Richardson, Katarina and Gerard J van den Berg, 'Duration dependence versus unobserved heterogeneity in treatment effects: Swedish labor market training and the transition rate to employment' in Journal of Applied Econometrics, 2013, pages 325-351.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:ifauwp:2008_007
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  1. Robert G. Fay, 1996. "Enhancing the Effectiveness of Active Labour Market Policies: Evidence from Programme Evaluations in OECD Countries," OECD Labour Market and Social Policy Occasional Papers 18, OECD Publishing.
  2. Carling, Kenneth & Edin, Per-Anders & Harkman, Anders & Holmlund, Bertil, 1996. "Unemployment duration, unemployment benefits, and labor market programs in Sweden," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 313-334, March.
  3. Matz Dahlberg & Anders Forslund, 2005. "Direct Displacement Effects of Labour Market Programmes," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(3), pages 475-494, 09.
  4. 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.
  5. Ridder, G. & Tunali, I., 1997. "Stratified Partial Likelihood Estimation," Papers 1997/17, Koc University.
  6. Jaap H. Abbring & Gerard J. van den Berg, 2004. "Analyzing the effect of dynamically assigned treatments using duration models, binary treatment models, and panel data models," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 29(1), pages 5-20, January.
  7. Ridder, Geert, 1990. "The Non-parametric Identification of Generalized Accelerated Failure-Time Models," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 167-81, April.
  8. Heckman, James J. & Lalonde, Robert J. & Smith, Jeffrey A., 1999. "The economics and econometrics of active labor market programs," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1865-2097 Elsevier.
  9. Van den Berg, Gerard J., 2000. "Duration Models: Specification, Identification, and Multiple Durations," MPRA Paper 9446, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Edin, P-A. & Holmlund, B., 1990. "Unemployment, Vacancies And Labour Market Programmes: Swedish Evidence," Papers 1990j, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  11. Jaap H. Abbring & Gerard J. van den Berg, 2003. "The Nonparametric Identification of Treatment Effects in Duration Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1491-1517, 09.
  12. Brännäs, Kurt, 2000. "Estimation in a Duration Model for Evaluating Educational Programs," Umeå Economic Studies 521, Umeå University, Department of Economics.
  13. Regner, Hakan, 2002. "A nonexperimental evaluation of training programs for the unemployed in Sweden," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 187-206, April.
  14. James J. Heckman & Christopher R. Taber, 1994. "Econometric Mixture Models and More General Models for Unobservables in Duration Analysis," NBER Technical Working Papers 0157, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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