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Employee Training and Firm Performance: Quasi-experimental evidence from the European Social Fund

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  • Pedro S. Martins

Abstract

As work changes, firm-provided training may become more relevant; however, there is little causal evidence about the effects of training on firms. This paper studies a large training grants programme in Portugal, contrasting successful firms that received the grants and unsuccessful firms that did not. Combining several rich data sets, we compare a large number of potential outcomes of these firms, while following them over long periods of time before and after the grant decision. Our difference-in-differences models estimate significant positive effects on take up (training hours and expenditure), with limited deadweight; and that such additional training led to increased sales, value added, employment, productivity, and exports. These effects tend to be of at least 5% and, in some cases, 10% or more, and are robust in multiple dimensions of the analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Pedro S. Martins, 2020. "Employee Training and Firm Performance: Quasi-experimental evidence from the European Social Fund," GEE Papers 0152, Gabinete de Estratégia e Estudos, Ministério da Economia, revised Jun 2020.
  • Handle: RePEc:mde:wpaper:0152
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sascha O. Becker & Peter H. Egger & Maximilian von Ehrlich, 2013. "Absorptive Capacity and the Growth and Investment Effects of Regional Transfers: A Regression Discontinuity Design with Heterogeneous Treatment Effects," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 29-77, November.
    2. David Card & Jochen Kluve & Andrea Weber, 2010. "Active Labour Market Policy Evaluations: A Meta-Analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(548), pages 452-477, November.
    3. Pedro Silva Martins, 2019. "The Microeconomic Impacts of Employee Representatives: Evidence from Membership Thresholds," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(4), pages 591-622, October.
    4. Alan Barrett & Philip J. O'Connell, 2001. "Does Training Generally Work? The Returns to in-Company Training," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(3), pages 647-662, April.
    5. Nicholas Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2007. "Measuring and Explaining Management Practices Across Firms and Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1351-1408.
    6. Pedro S. Martins, 2009. "Dismissals for Cause: The Difference That Just Eight Paragraphs Can Make," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 257-279, April.
    7. Michael Lechner & Conny Wunsch, 2009. "Are Training Programs More Effective When Unemployment Is High?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(4), pages 653-692, October.
    8. Brunello, Giorgio & Comi, Simona Lorena & Sonedda, Daniela, 2012. "Training subsidies and the wage returns to continuing vocational training," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 361-372.
    9. Pierre Cahuc & Francis Kramarz & Sandra Nevoux, 2018. "When Short-Time Work Works," Sciences Po publications 2018-03, Sciences Po.
    10. Edwin Leuven & Hessel Oosterbeek, 2008. "An alternative approach to estimate the wage returns to private-sector training," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(4), pages 423-434.
    11. Schwerdt, Guido & Messer, Dolores & Woessmann, Ludger & Wolter, Stefan C., 2012. "The impact of an adult education voucher program: Evidence from a randomized field experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(7-8), pages 569-583.
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    Cited by:

    1. Brunello, Giorgio & Gereben, Áron & Weiss, Christoph & Wruuck, Patricia, 2020. "Financing constraints and employers' investment in training," EIB Working Papers 2020/05, European Investment Bank (EIB).
    2. Martins, Pedro S., 2020. "What Do Employers' Associations Do?," IZA Discussion Papers 13705, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Training subsidies; Productivity; Counterfactual evaluation.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • H43 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Project Evaluation; Social Discount Rate
    • M53 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Training

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