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New Estimates of Public Employment and Training Program Net Impacts: A Nonexperimental Evaluation of the Workforce Investment Act Program

This paper presents nonexperimental net impact estimates for the Adult and Dislocated Worker programs under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), the primary federal job training program in the U.S, based on administrative data from 12 states, covering approximately 160,000 WIA participants and nearly 3 million comparison group members. The key measure of interest is the increment in average quarterly earnings or employment attributable to WIA program participation for those who participate, estimated for up to four years following entry into the program using propensity score matching methods. The results for participants in the WIA Adult program show that participating is associated with a several-hundred-dollar increase in average quarterly earnings. Adult program participants who obtain training have lower earnings in the months during training and the year after exit than those who don’t receive training, but they catch up within 10 quarters, ultimately registering large gains. The marginal benefits of training exceed, on average, $400 in earnings each quarter three years after program entry. Participants in the Dislocated Worker program experience several quarters for which earnings are depressed relative to comparison group workers after entering WIA, and, although their earnings ultimately match or overtake the comparison group, the benefits they obtain are smaller than for those in the Adult program.

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File URL: https://economics.missouri.edu/working-papers/2010/wp1003_mueser.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Missouri in its series Working Papers with number 1003.

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Length: 61 pages
Date of creation: 15 Mar 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in the IZA Journal of Labor Economics as "Do Public Employment and Training Programs Work?"
Handle: RePEc:umc:wpaper:1003
Note: Update of WP0901
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Web page: http://economics.missouri.edu/

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  1. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 1998. "Propensity Score Matching Methods for Non-experimental Causal Studies," NBER Working Papers 6829, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Peikes, Deborah N. & Moreno, Lorenzo & Orzol, Sean Michael, 2008. "Propensity Score Matching: A Note of Caution for Evaluators of Social Programs," The American Statistician, American Statistical Association, vol. 62, pages 222-231, August.
  3. Lechner, Michael & Wunsch, Conny, 2006. "Are Training Programs More Effective When Unemployment Is High?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5920, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2006. "Large Sample Properties of Matching Estimators for Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(1), pages 235-267, 01.
  5. Deborah N Peikes & Lorenzo Moreno & Sean Michael Orzol, 2008. "Propensity Score Matching: A Note of Caution for Evaluators of Social Programs," Mathematica Policy Research Reports dd0866e4646a4e0ea77079d5b, Mathematica Policy Research.
  6. Jose C. Galdo & Jeffrey Smith & Dan Black, 2008. "Bandwidth Selection and the Estimation of Treatment Effects with Unbalanced Data," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 91-92, pages 189-216.
  7. V. Joseph Hotz & Guido W. Imbens & Jacob A. Klerman, 2006. "Evaluating the Differential Effects of Alternative Welfare-to-Work Training Components: A Reanalysis of the California GAIN Program," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 521-566, July.
  8. Caliendo, Marco & Kopeinig, Sabine, 2005. "Some Practical Guidance for the Implementation of Propensity Score Matching," IZA Discussion Papers 1588, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Andrew Dyke & Carolyn J. Heinrich & Peter R. Mueser & Kenneth R. Troske & Kyung-Seong Jeon, 2006. "The Effects of Welfare-to-Work Program Activities on Labor Market Outcomes," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 567-608, July.
  10. Heinrich, Carolyn J., 2007. "Demand and Supply-Side Determinants of Conditional Cash Transfer Program Effectiveness," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 121-143, January.
  11. A. Smith, Jeffrey & E. Todd, Petra, 2005. "Does matching overcome LaLonde's critique of nonexperimental estimators?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 305-353.
  12. Imbens, Guido W. & Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 2008. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," IZA Discussion Papers 3640, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. 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.
  14. James J. Heckman & Petra E. Todd, 2009. "A Note on Adapting Propensity Score Matching and Selection Models to Choice Based Samples," NBER Working Papers 15179, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Christopher J. O'Leary, 2004. "Evaluating the Effectiveness of Labor Exchange Services," Book chapters authored by Upjohn Institute researchers, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  16. Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2006. "On the Failure of the Bootstrap for Matching Estimators," NBER Technical Working Papers 0325, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Guido W. Imbens, 2003. "Nonparametric Estimation of Average Treatment Effects under Exogeneity: A Review," NBER Technical Working Papers 0294, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Steven Glazerman Dan Levy David Myers, 2003. "Nonexperimental Versus Experimental Estimates of Earnings Impacts," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 7c8bd68ac8db47caa57c70ee1, Mathematica Policy Research.
  19. Fredriksson, Peter & Johansson, Per, 2008. "Dynamic Treatment Assignment," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 26, pages 435-445.
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  21. Mueser, Peter R. & Troske, Kenneth & Gorislavsky, Alexey, 2003. "Using State Administrative Data to Measure Program Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 786, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  22. repec:adr:anecst:y:2008:i:91-92 is not listed on IDEAS
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  24. Heckman, James J. & Lalonde, Robert J. & Smith, Jeffrey A., 1999. "The economics and econometrics of active labor market programs," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1865-2097 Elsevier.
  25. Heckman, James J & Smith, Jeffrey A, 1999. "The Pre-programme Earnings Dip and the Determinants of Participation in a Social Programme. Implications for Simple Programme Evaluation Strategies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(457), pages 313-48, July.
  26. Dan A. Black & Jeffrey A. Smith & Mark C. Berger & Brett J. Noel, 2003. "Is the Threat of Reemployment Services More Effective Than the Services Themselves? Evidence from Random Assignment in the UI System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1313-1327, September.
  27. Barbara Sianesi, 2004. "An Evaluation of the Swedish System of Active Labor Market Programs in the 1990s," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 133-155, February.
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