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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.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 8210.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: May 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8210
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