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Evaluating Job Training in Two Chinese Cities

Recent years have seen a surge in work on the impacts of active labor market programs for numerous countries. However, little evidence has been presented on the effectiveness of such programs in China. Recent economic reforms, associated with massive lay-offs, and the accompanying public retraining programs make China fertile ground for rigorous impact evaluations. This study uses survey data from the two large industrial cities Shenyang and Wuhan, covering the period 1998 to 2000, to evaluate retraining programs for over 2000 workers two years after they had been observed as displaced and unemployed. Using a comparison group design, this study is, to our knowledge, the first evaluation of its kind in China. The evidence suggests that retraining helped workers find jobs in Wuhan, but had little effect in Shenyang. The study raises questions about the overall effectiveness of retraining expenditures, and it offers some directions for policy-makers about future interventions to help laid-off workers.

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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 cjo2009.

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Handle: RePEc:upj:weupjo:cjo2009
Note: Appears in Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies 7(1): 77-94
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  1. Galasso, Emanuela & Ravallion, Martin & Salvia, Agustin, 2001. "Assisting the transition from workfare to work : a randomized experiment," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2738, The World Bank.
  2. Dar, Amit & Gill, Indermit S, 1998. "Evaluating Retraining Programs in OECD Countries: Lessons Learned," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 13(1), pages 79-101, February.
  3. James Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Jeffrey Smith & Petra Todd, 1998. "Characterizing Selection Bias Using Experimental Data," NBER Working Papers 6699, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Spence, A Michael, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-74, August.
  5. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra E, 1997. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 605-54, October.
  6. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  7. 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.
  8. Fretwell, David H. & Benus, Jacob & O'Leary, Christopher J., 1999. "Evaluating the impact of active labor programs : results of cross country studies in Europe and Central Asia," Social Protection Discussion Papers 20131, The World Bank.
  9. DiPrete, Thomas A. & Gangl, Markus, 2004. "Assessing bias in the estimation of causal effects: Rosenbaum bounds on matching estimators and instrumental variables estimation with imperfect instruments," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Labor Market Policy and Employment SP I 2004-101, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
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