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Training, Wages, and Sample Selection: Estimating Sharp Bounds on Treatment Effects

  • David S. Lee
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    This paper empirically assesses the wage effects of the Job Corps program, one of the largest federally-funded job training programs in the United States. Even with the aid of a randomized experiment, the impact of a training program on wages is difficult to study because of sample selection, a pervasive problem in applied micro-econometric research. Wage rates are only observed for those who are employed, and employment status itself may be affected by the training program. This paper develops an intuitive trimming procedure for bounding average treatment effects in the presence of sample selection. In contrast to existing methods, the procedure requires neither exclusion restrictions nor a bounded support for the outcome of interest. Identification results, estimators, and their asymptotic distribution, are presented. The bounds suggest that the program raised wages, consistent with the notion that the Job Corps raises earnings by increasing human capital, rather than solely through encouraging work. The estimator is generally applicable to typical treatment evaluation problems in which there is non-random sample selection/attrition.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11721.pdf
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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11721.

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    Date of creation: Oct 2005
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    Publication status: published as Lee, David. “Training, Wages, and Sample Selection: Estimating Sharp Bounds on Treatment Effects.” Review of Economic Studies 76(3), 1071-1102. 2009
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11721
    Note: LS
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    1. Ahn, Hyungtaik & Powell, James L., 1993. "Semiparametric estimation of censored selection models with a nonparametric selection mechanism," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1-2), pages 3-29, July.
    2. Mitali Das & Whitney K. Newey & Francis Vella, 2003. "Nonparametric Estimation of Sample Selection Models," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 33-58.
    3. repec:mpr:mprres:2952 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Angrist, J.D., 1996. "Conditional Independance in Sample Selection Models," Working papers 96-27, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    5. Joshua D. Angrist & Guido W. Imbens, 1995. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," NBER Technical Working Papers 0118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. John P. Martin, 1998. "What Works Among Active Labour Market Policies: Evidence From OECD Countries' Experiences," OECD Labour Market and Social Policy Occasional Papers 35, OECD Publishing.
    7. Guido Imbens & Charles F. Manski, 2003. "Confidence intervals for partially identified parameters," CeMMAP working papers CWP09/03, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    8. Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
    9. Alan Krueger & Diane Whitmore, 1999. "The Effect of Attending a Small Class in the Early Grades on College-Test Taking and Middle School Test Results: Evidence from Project STAR," Working Papers 806, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    10. Edward Vytlacil, 2002. "Independence, Monotonicity, and Latent Index Models: An Equivalence Result," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 331-341, January.
    11. Horowitz, Joel L & Manski, Charles F, 1995. "Identification and Robustness with Contaminated and Corrupted Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(2), pages 281-302, March.
    12. Andrews, Donald W K & Schafgans, Marcia M A, 1998. "Semiparametric Estimation of the Intercept of a Sample Selection Model," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(3), pages 497-517, July.
    13. Newey, Whitney K. & McFadden, Daniel, 1986. "Large sample estimation and hypothesis testing," Handbook of Econometrics, in: R. F. Engle & D. McFadden (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 36, pages 2111-2245 Elsevier.
    14. David S. Lee, 2002. "Trimming for Bounds on Treatment Effects with Missing Outcomes," NBER Technical Working Papers 0277, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Heckman, James J, 1974. "Shadow Prices, Market Wages, and Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 42(4), pages 679-94, July.
    16. John Burghardt & Peter Z. Schochet & Sheena McConnell & Terry Johnson & R. Mark Gritz & Steven Glazerman & John Homrighausen & Russell Jackson, 2001. "Does Job Corps Work? Summary of the National Job Corps Study," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 3d00dc5e556f4bdd88335dd90, Mathematica Policy Research.
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