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Learning but Not Earning? The Value of Job Corps Training for Hispanic Youths


  • Flores-Lagunes, Alfonso

    () (Syracuse University)

  • Gonzalez, Arturo

    () (Ernst & Young)

  • Neumann, Todd C.

    () (University of California, Merced)


The National Job Corps Study (NJCS) was a four-year longitudinal social experiment that randomized over 15,000 Job Corps eligible applicants into treatment and control groups. Experimental estimators revealed a positive impact of Job Corps training in the weekly earnings of white and black youths 48 months after randomization, but not for Hispanic youths. This study considers explanations for why Job Corps does not increase the earnings of Hispanics in the NJCS. First, we show that the randomization in the NJCS did not create comparable treatment and control groups for Hispanics. We then apply alternative estimators that adjust for systematic differences in observable and time-invariant characteristics, but still find statistically insignificant effects of Job Corps 48 months after randomization. Finally, we estimate the "net treatment effect" controlling for post-treatment experience to advance an explanation for why Job Corps fails to benefit Hispanics 48 months after randomization: non-treated Hispanics earn a significant amount of labor market experience during the study compared to all other groups. This higher level of experience translates into higher earnings that Hispanic treated individuals are not able to overcome by the end of the study, despite having higher earnings growth in the 48-month period of any group.

Suggested Citation

  • Flores-Lagunes, Alfonso & Gonzalez, Arturo & Neumann, Todd C., 2005. "Learning but Not Earning? The Value of Job Corps Training for Hispanic Youths," IZA Discussion Papers 1638, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1638

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. John Burghardt & Sheena McConnell & Alicia Meckstroth & Peter Schochet & Terry Johnson & John Homrighausen, 1999. "National Job Corps Study: Report on Study Implementation," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 871cc2556a8b4475b09c99bf4, Mathematica Policy Research.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hahn, Jinyong & Hirano, Keisuke & Karlan, Dean, 2011. "Adaptive Experimental Design Using the Propensity Score," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 29(1), pages 96-108.
    2. Carlos A. Flores & Alfonso Flores-Lagunes & Arturo Gonzalez & Todd C. Neumann, 2009. "Estimating the Effects of Lenght of Exposure to Traning Program: The Case of Job Corps," Working Papers 2010-3, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
    3. Alfonso Flores-Lagunes & Arturo Gonzalez & Todd C. Neumann, 2007. "Estimating the Effects of Length of Exposure to a Training Program: The Case of Job Corps," Working Papers 1042, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    4. Flores, Carlos A. & Flores-Lagunes, Alfonso, 2009. "Identification and Estimation of Causal Mechanisms and Net Effects of a Treatment under Unconfoundedness," IZA Discussion Papers 4237, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Carlos A. Flores & Alfonso Flores-Lagunes, 2007. "Identification and Estimation of Casual Mechanisms and Net Effects of a Treatment," Working Papers 0706, University of Miami, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    racial earnings gap; job training programs; Job Corps; Hispanic earnings gap;

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts

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