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The Determinants of Participation in a Social Program: Evidence from a Prototypical Job Training Program

  • James J. Heckman
  • Jeffrey A. Smith

This paper decomposes the participation process of a prototypical program into eligibility, awareness, application, acceptance and enrollment. With this decomposition, we determine the sources of unequal participation for different groups, and demonstrate that variables often have very different effects at different stages in the participation process. Our analysis shows that personal choices substantially affect participation and that awareness of program eligibility is a major source of variation in participation.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9818.

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Date of creation: Jul 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as James J. Heckman & Jeffrey A. Smith, 2004. "The Determinants of Participation in a Social Program: Evidence from a Prototypical Job Training Program," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 243-298, April.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9818
Note: ED LS PE
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  1. Dahlia K. Remler & Jason E. Rachlin & Sherry A. Glied, 2001. "What can the take-up of other programs teach us about how to improve take-up of health insurance programs?," NBER Working Papers 8185, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Heckman, James J. & Navarro, Salvador, 2003. "Using Matching, Instrumental Variables and Control Functions to Estimate Economic Choice Models," IZA Discussion Papers 768, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Louis S. Jacobson & Robert J. LaLonde & Daniel G. Sullivan, 1999. "Measures of program performance and the training choices of displaced workers," Working Paper Series WP-99-28, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  4. Zweimuller, Josef & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 1996. "Manpower Training Programmes and Employment Stability," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 63(249), pages 113-30, February.
  5. James Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Jeffrey Smith & Petra Todd, 1998. "Characterizing Selection Bias Using Experimental Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(5), pages 1017-1098, September.
  6. Rebecca M. Blank & Patricia Ruggles, 1996. "When Do Women Use Aid to Families with Dependent Children and Food Stamps? The Dynamics of Eligibility Versus Participation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(1), pages 57-89.
  7. Card, David & Sullivan, Daniel G, 1988. "Measuring the Effect of Subsidized Training Programs on Movements in and out of Employment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(3), pages 497-530, May.
  8. Christopher J. O'Leary & Paul T. Decker & Stephen A. Wandner, 2002. "Targeting Reemployment Bonuses," Book chapters authored by Upjohn Institute researchers, in: Stephen A. Wandner & Randall W. Eberts & Christopher J. O'Leary (ed.), Targeting Employment Services, chapter 6, pages 161-182 W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  9. repec:mpr:mprres:3005 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. James Heckman & Neil Hohmann & Jeffrey Smith, 1998. "Substitution and Dropout Bias in Social Experiments: A Study of an Influential Social Experiment," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9819, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  11. Ashenfelter, Orley & Card, David, 1985. "Using the Longitudinal Structure of Earnings to Estimate the Effect of Training Programs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(4), pages 648-60, November.
  12. Heckman, James J. & Robb, Richard Jr., 1985. "Alternative methods for evaluating the impact of interventions : An overview," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 239-267.
  13. James Heckman & Jeffrey Smith & Christopher Taber, 1998. "Accounting For Dropouts In Evaluations Of Social Programs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(1), pages 1-14, February.
  14. Paul Storer & Marc A. Van Audenrode, 1995. "Unemployment Insurance Take-Up Rates in Canada: Facts, Determinants, and Implications," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 28(4a), pages 822-35, November.
  15. Patricia M. Anderson & Bruce D. Meyer, 1997. "Unemployment Insurance Takeup Rates and the After-Tax Value of Benefits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 913-937.
  16. Rebecca M. Blank, 2001. "What Causes Public Assistance Caseloads to Grow?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(1), pages 85-118.
  17. McCall, Brian P, 1995. "The Impact of Unemployment Insurance Benefit Levels on Recipiency," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(2), pages 189-98, April.
  18. Ann Dryden Witte & Magaly Queralt, 2002. "Take-Up Rates and Trade Offs After the Age of Entitlement: Some Thoughts and Empirical Evidence for Child Care Subsidies," NBER Working Papers 8886, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. James J. Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Petra E. Todd, 1997. "Matching As An Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(4), pages 605-654.
  20. Kathryn H. Anderson & Richard V. Burkhauser & Jennie E. Raymond, 1993. "The Effect of Creaming on Placement Rates under the Job Training Partnership Act," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(4), pages 613-624, July.
  21. James J. Heckman & Jeffrey A. Smith & Christopher Taber, 1996. "What Do Bureaucrats Do? The Effects of Performance Standards and Bureaucratic Preferences on Acceptance into the JTPA Program," NBER Working Papers 5535, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. James J. Heckman & Jeffrey A. Smith, 1999. "The Pre-Program Earnings Dip and the Determinants of Participation in a Social Program: Implications for Simple Program Evaluation Strategies," NBER Working Papers 6983, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Riphahn, Regina T., 2000. "Rational Poverty or Poor Rationality? The Take-up of Social Assistance Benefits," IZA Discussion Papers 124, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  24. Parsons, Donald O, 1991. "Self-Screening in Targeted Public Transfer Programs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 859-76, August.
  25. James J. Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Petra Todd, 1998. "Matching As An Econometric Evaluation Estimator," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(2), pages 261-294.
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