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Estimating the Effects of Length of Exposure to a Training Program: The Case of Job Corps

Author

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  • Flores-Lagunes, Alfonso

    () (Syracuse University)

  • Gonzalez, Arturo

    () (Ernst & Young)

  • Neumann, Todd C.

    () (University of California, Merced)

Abstract

Most of the literature on the evaluation of training programs focuses on the effect of participation on a particular outcome (e.g. earnings). The “treatment” is generally represented by a binary variable equal to one if participation in the program occurs, and equal to zero if no participation occurs. While the use of a binary treatment indicator is attractive for ease of interpretation and estimation, it treats all exposure the same. The extent of exposure to the treatment, however, is potentially important in determining the outcome; particularly in training programs where a main feature is the varying length of the training spells of participating individuals. In this paper, we illustrate how recently developed methods for the estimation of causal effects from continuous treatments can be used to learn about the consequences of heterogeneous lengths of enrollment in the evaluation of training programs. We apply these methods to data on Job Corps (JC), America’s largest and most comprehensive job training program for disadvantaged youth. The length of exposure is a significant source of heterogeneity in these data: while the average participation spell in JC is 28 weeks, its standard deviation and interdecile range are 27 and 62 weeks, respectively. We estimate average causal effects of different lengths of exposure to JC using the “generalized propensity score” under the assumption that the length of the individual’s JC spell is randomly assigned, conditional on a rich set of covariates. Finally, using this approach, we document important differences across different spell lengths and across three racial and ethnic groups of participants (blacks, whites and Hispanics) that help understand why the benefits these groups receive from JC are so disparate from estimates derived using traditional methods.

Suggested Citation

  • Flores-Lagunes, Alfonso & Gonzalez, Arturo & Neumann, Todd C., 2007. "Estimating the Effects of Length of Exposure to a Training Program: The Case of Job Corps," IZA Discussion Papers 2846, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2846
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    Cited by:

    1. K. Hohmeyer, 2012. "Effectiveness of One-Euro-Jobs: do programme characteristics matter?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(34), pages 4469-4484, December.
    2. Jochen Kluve & Hilmar Schneider & Arne Uhlendorff & Zhong Zhao, 2007. "Evaluating Continuous Training Programs Using the Generalized Propensity Score," Ruhr Economic Papers 0035, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    3. Kluve, Jochen & Schneider, Hilmar & Uhlendorff, Arne & Zhao, Zhong, 2007. "Evaluating Continuous Training Programs Using the Generalized Propensity Score," Ruhr Economic Papers 35, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    4. Flores, Carlos A. & Mitnik, Oscar A., 2009. "Evaluating Nonexperimental Estimators for Multiple Treatments: Evidence from Experimental Data," IZA Discussion Papers 4451, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Doyle, William R., 2011. "Effect of increased academic momentum on transfer rates: An application of the generalized propensity score," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 191-200, February.
    6. Carlos A. Flores, 2007. "Estimation of Dose-Response Functions and Optimal Doses with a Continuous Treatment," Working Papers 0707, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
    7. Crombrugghe Denis de & Espinoza Henry & Heijke Hans, 2010. "Job-training programmes with low completion rates: The case of Projoven-Peru," ROA Research Memorandum 004, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
    8. Fitzenberger, Bernd & Osikominu, Aderonke & Paul, Marie, 2010. "The heterogeneous effects of training incidence and duration on labor market transitions," ZEW Discussion Papers 10-077, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    9. BIA Michela & FLORES Carlos A. & MATTEI Alessandra, 2011. "Nonparametric Estimators of Dose-Response Functions," LISER Working Paper Series 2011-40, LISER.
    10. Waller, Marie, 2008. "Further training for the unemployed : what can we learn about dropouts from administrative data?," FDZ Methodenreport 200804_en, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    11. Katrin Hohmeyer, 2011. "Effectiveness of One-Euro-Jobs: Do programme characteristics matter?," Post-Print hal-00719485, HAL.
    12. Crombrugghe Denis de & Espinoza Henry & Heijke Hans, 2010. "Determinants of dropout behaviour in a job training programme for disadvantaged youths," ROA Research Memorandum 008, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
    13. Michael Lechner & Stephan Wiehler, 2013. "Does the Order and Timing of Active Labour Market Programmes Matter?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 75(2), pages 180-212, April.
    14. Kluve, Jochen & Schneider, Hilmar & Uhlendorff, Arne & Zhao, Zhong, 2007. "Evaluating continuous training programs using the generalized propensity score1," Technical Reports 2007,39, Technische Universität Dortmund, Sonderforschungsbereich 475: Komplexitätsreduktion in multivariaten Datenstrukturen.
    15. Michael Lechner & Stephan Wiehler, 2007. "Does the Order and Timing of Active Labor Market Programs Matter?," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2007 2007-38, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
    16. Mohl, Philipp & Hagen, Tobias, 2008. "Which is the Right Dose of EU Cohesion Policy for Economic Growth?," ZEW Discussion Papers 08-104, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
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    18. Conny Wunsch, 2013. "Optimal Use of Labor Market Policies: The Role of Job Search Assistance," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(3), pages 1030-1045, July.
    19. Kuhlgatz, Christian & Abdulai, Awudu, 2011. "Determinants and Welfare Impacts of Export Crop Cultivation - Empirical Evidence from Ghana," 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland 114692, European Association of Agricultural Economists.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    training programs; continuous treatments; generalized propensity score; dose-response function;

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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