IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Long-Term Gains from GAIN A Re-Analysis of the Impacts of the California GAIN Program


  • V. Joseph Hotz
  • Guido Imbens
  • Jacob Alex Klerman


As part of recent reforms of the welfare programs in the U.S., many states and localities have refocused their Welfare-to-Work programs from an emphasis on human capital acquisition (i.e., providing basic education and vocational training) to an emphasis on "work-first," (i.e., moving welfare recipients into unsubsidized employment as quickly as possible). This change in emphasis has been motivated, in part, by results from the experimental evaluation, conducted by the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC), of California's Greater Avenues to Independence (GAIN) programs during the early 1990s. Their evaluation found that, compared to programs in other countries that emphasized skill accumulation, the work-first program in Riverside County had larger effects on employment, earnings, and welfare receipt. In addition, the Riverside program was cheaper per recipient than the other programs. The paper reexamines the GAIN programs from two complementary perspectives. First, we extend the earlier analysis through nine years post-randomization, which is the longest follow-up of any randomized training program, and find that the stronger impacts of Riverside County's work first program tend to shrink, whereas the weaker impacts for the human capital programs in Alameda and Los Angeles Counties tend to remain constant or even grow over time. Second, we develop and implement methods to allow the comparison of programs implemented by random assignment in different places despite striking differences in the composition of the participant populations. On a substantive level, our reexamination of the GAIN experiment lead us to conclude that although the work first programs were more successful than the human capital accumulation programs in the early years, this relative advantage disappears in later years. On a methodological level, our results suggest that--at least in this welfare context--these methods are a promising approach both for the estimation of
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • V. Joseph Hotz & Guido Imbens & Jacob Alex Klerman, 2000. "The Long-Term Gains from GAIN A Re-Analysis of the Impacts of the California GAIN Program," Working Papers DRU-2340, RAND Corporation.
  • Handle: RePEc:ran:wpaper:dru-2340

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. LaLonde, Robert J, 1986. "Evaluating the Econometric Evaluations of Training Programs with Experimental Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 604-620, September.
    2. Heckman, James J & Lochner, Lance & Taber, Christopher, 1998. "General-Equilibrium Treatment Effects: A Study of Tuition Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 381-386, May.
    3. Heckman, J.J. & Hotz, V.J., 1988. "Choosing Among Alternative Nonexperimental Methods For Estimating The Impact Of Social Programs: The Case Of Manpower Training," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 88-12, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
    4. Rajeev Dehejia, 2000. "Was There a Riverside Miracle? A Framework for Evaluating Multi-Site Programs," NBER Working Papers 7844, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 1998. "Causal Effects in Non-Experimental Studies: Re-Evaluating the Evaluation of Training Programs," NBER Working Papers 6586, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Couch, Kenneth A, 1992. "New Evidence on the Long-Term Effects of Employment Training Programs," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(4), pages 380-388, October.
    7. V. Joseph Hotz & Guido W. Imbens & Julie H. Mortimer, 1999. "Predicting the Efficacy of Future Training Programs Using Past Experiences," NBER Technical Working Papers 0238, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. 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.
    9. Daniel Friedlander & David H. Greenberg & Philip K. Robins, 1997. "Evaluating Government Training Programs for the Economically Disadvantaged," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(4), pages 1809-1855, December.
    10. Robert J. LaLonde, 1995. "The Promise of Public Sector-Sponsored Training Programs," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 149-168, Spring.
    11. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ran:wpaper:dru-2340. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Benson Wong). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.