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Estimating the Effect of Training on Employment and Unemployment Durations: Evidence From Experimental Data

  • John C. Ham
  • Robert J. LaLonde

Using data from a social experiment, we estimate the impact of training on the duration of employment and unemployment spells for AFDC recipients. Although an experimental design eliminates the need to construct a comparison group for this analysis, simple comparisons between the average durations or the transition rates of treatments' and controls' employment and unemployment spells lead to biased estimates of the effects of training. We present and implement several econometric approaches that demonstrate the importance of and correct for these biases. For the training program studied in the paper, we find that it raised employment rates because employment durations increased. In contrast, training did not lead to shorter unemployment spells.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w3912.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3912.

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Date of creation: Nov 1991
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Publication status: Published as "The Effect of Sample Selection and Initial Conditions in Duration Models: Evidence from Experimental Data on Training", Econometrica Vol. 64 (1), 1996, pp. 175-205.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3912
Note: LS
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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Web page: http://www.nber.org
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  1. Lancaster, Tony, 1979. "Econometric Methods for the Duration of Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(4), pages 939-56, July.
  2. Heckman, James J. & Singer, Burton, 1984. "Econometric duration analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1-2), pages 63-132.
  3. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
  4. Christopher J. Flinn & James J. Heckman, 1982. "Models for the Analysis of Labor Force Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 0857, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Orley Ashenfelter & David Card, 1984. "Using the Longitudinal Structure of Earnings to Estimate the Effect of Training Programs," NBER Working Papers 1489, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Ashenfelter, Orley C, 1978. "Estimating the Effect of Training Programs on Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(1), pages 47-57, February.
  7. Heckman, James & Singer, Burton, 1984. "A Method for Minimizing the Impact of Distributional Assumptions in Econometric Models for Duration Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 271-320, March.
  8. Burt S. Barnow, 1987. "The Impact of CETA Programs on Earnings: A Review of the Literature," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 22(2), pages 157-193.
  9. Nickell, Stephen J, 1979. "Estimating the Probability of Leaving Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1249-66, September.
  10. Ridder, G, 1986. "An Event History Approach to the Evaluation of Training, Recruitment and Employment Programmes," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 1(2), pages 109-26, April.
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