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Sensitivity Testing of Net Impact Estimates of Workforce Development Programs Using Administrative Data

This paper addresses the question of whether administrative data sources, such as performance monitoring data, can be used for program evaluation purposes. It argues that under certain circumstances, such data can be used. In particular, program performance data that are routinely gathered and monitored by administrators of many workforce development programs meet these circumstances. The paper goes on to demonstrate the point by using administrative data from the state of Washington to examine the net impact on earnings and employment of services provided to adults under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).Because of a lack of consensus about appropriate net impact estimators, the strategy of this paper is to examine the sensitivity of the results to various estimation techniques. The paper describes the various estimation techniques, and it summarizes the net impact estimates that are generated for the State of Washington. For the most part, the results are fairly stable across the techniques, which the paper argues adds a degree of confidence in them. The final section of the paper offers guidance to policymakers and program administrators who may not be familiar with the technical details of various analytical approaches about how empirical results that may appear to be complex or unstable can be used for program improvement.

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File URL: http://research.upjohn.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1156&context=up_workingpapers
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Paper provided by W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in its series Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles with number 08-139.

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Date of creation: Feb 2008
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Handle: RePEc:upj:weupjo:08-139
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  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
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