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Barriers to Skill Acquisition: Evidence from English Training in India

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  • Jain, Tarun

    (Indian School of Business)

  • Maitra, Pushkar

    (Monash University)

  • Mani, Subha

    (Fordham University)

Abstract

Skill development is increasingly viewed as a way to escape the low education – high unemployment trap in developing countries. Consequently, policy makers in these countries are extensively investing in skill development programs. However, participation and completion rates in many of these programs remains low. This paper investigates factors that prevent individuals from acquiring spoken English, an important skill with potentially high returns in the labor market. Using data from a field experiment in India that subsidizes the cost of learning spoken English, we find that full subsidy (compared to partial or no subsidy) positively effects the probability of participating in a spoken English training program. Conversely, distance to the training center, pre-existing knowledge of spoken English, and past enrollment in a similar course act as significant barriers to take-up. These findings suggest that multidimensional policy solutions are required to overcome the barriers to skill development in developing countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Jain, Tarun & Maitra, Pushkar & Mani, Subha, 2016. "Barriers to Skill Acquisition: Evidence from English Training in India," IZA Discussion Papers 10199, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10199
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    Cited by:

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    2. Manuela Rozalia Gabor & Petruța Blaga & Cosmin Matis, 2019. "Supporting Employability by a Skills Assessment Innovative Tool—Sustainable Transnational Insights from Employers," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(12), pages 1-18, June.
    3. Baulia, Susmita, 2019. "Take-up of joint and individual liability loans: An analysis with laboratory experiment," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 82(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    field experiment; spoken English; vocational training; skill development; India;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations

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