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Can Arts-Based Interventions Enhance Labor Market Outcomes among Youth? Evidence from a Randomized Trial in Rio de Janeiro


  • Calero, Carla

    () (Inter-American Development Bank)

  • Corseuil, Carlos Henrique

    () (Institute for Applied Economic Research (IPEA), Brazil)

  • Gonzales, Veronica

    () (Inter-American Development Bank)

  • Kluve, Jochen

    () (Humboldt University Berlin, RWI)

  • Soares, Yuri

    () (Inter-American Development Bank)


This paper provides findings of a small-scale, innovative labor training program that uses expressive arts and theatre as a pedagogical tool. The corresponding life skills training component is combined with a technical component teaching vocational skills. To our knowledge, this is the first paper to rigorously evaluate the effectiveness of a training program constructed around expressive arts. Using a randomized assignment of favela youth into program and control groups, we look at the short-run treatment effects on a comprehensive set of outcomes including employment and earnings as well as measures of personality traits and risk behavior. We find positive short-run employment and earnings impacts five months after the program finalized; no impacts are found for shorter periods. These short-run impacts are economically very large, compared to those typically found in the literature: a 33.3 per cent increase in the probability of being employed, and a 23.6 per cent increase in earnings. We find no evidence of significant program impacts on other outcomes, including personality-related traits, providing evidence that these traits may not be malleable for young adults in the short-run. We argue that the estimated labor market impacts are due to a combination of both skills formation and signaling of higher quality workers to employers.

Suggested Citation

  • Calero, Carla & Corseuil, Carlos Henrique & Gonzales, Veronica & Kluve, Jochen & Soares, Yuri, 2014. "Can Arts-Based Interventions Enhance Labor Market Outcomes among Youth? Evidence from a Randomized Trial in Rio de Janeiro," IZA Discussion Papers 8210, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8210

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Escudero, Verónica & Kluve, Jochen & López Mourelo, Elva & Pignatti, Clemente, 2017. "Active labour market programmes in Latin America and the Caribbean: Evicence from a meta analysis," Ruhr Economic Papers 715, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    2. Carlos Henrique Corseuil & Miguel Foguel & Gustavo Gonzaga, 2016. "Apprenticeship as a stepping stone to beter jobs: Evidence from brazilian matched employer-employee data," Textos para discussão 651, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
    3. Carla Calero & Sandra V. Rozo, 2016. "The effects of youth training on risk behavior: the role of non-cognitive skills," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-27, December.
    4. Wendy Cunningham & Pablo Acosta & Noël Muller, 2016. "Minds and Behaviors at Work," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 24659, March.
    5. Kluve, Jochen., 2016. "A review of the effectiveness of active labour market programmes with a focus on Latin America and the Caribbean," ILO Working Papers 994901193402676, International Labour Organization.

    More about this item


    labor market training; youths; randomized controlled trial; life skills;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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