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Assisting the transition from workfare to work : a randomized experiment

  • Galasso, Emanuela
  • Ravallion, Martin
  • Salvia, Agustin

Randomly sampled workfare participants in a welfare-dependent region of Argentina were given a voucher that entitled an employer to a sizable wage subsidy. A second sample also received the option of skill training, while a third sample formed the control group. The authors analyze the effects of this scheme on participants'employment and income, using double-difference and instrumental-variables methods to dealwith potential experimental biases, including selective compliance with the randomized assignment. The authors find that compared with the control group, voucher recipients had a significantly higher probability of employment, though their current incomes were no higher. The impact was largely confined to women and younger workers. Labor supply effects appear to have been important. However, training had no significant impact. The experiment was cost-effective in reducing the government's welfare spending, since take-up of the subsidy by employers was low.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2738.

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Date of creation: 31 Dec 2001
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2738
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  1. John Fitzgerald & Peter Gottschalk & Robert Moffitt, 1997. "An Analysis of Sample Attrition in Panel Data: The Michigan Panel Study of Income Dynamics," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 394, Boston College Department of Economics.
  2. Lawrence Katz & B. Jeffrey Liebman, 2000. "Moving to Opportunity in Boston: Early Results of a Randomized Mobility Experiment," Working Papers 820, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  3. Dave M. O'Neill, 1982. "Employment Tax Credit Programs: The Effects of Socioeconomic Targeting Provisions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(3), pages 449-459.
  4. Brian Bell & Richard Blundell & John Van Reenen, 1999. "Getting the unemployed back to work: the role of targeted wage subsidies," IFS Working Papers W99/12, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  5. Besley, T. & Coate, S., 1991. "Workfare vs. Welfare: Incentive Arguments For Work Requirements In Poverty Allevation Programs," Papers 73, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - John M. Olin Program.
  6. Lipton, Michael & Ravallion, Martin, 1995. "Poverty and policy," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 41, pages 2551-2657 Elsevier.
  7. 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.
  8. Stephen A. Woodbury, 2009. "Unemployment," Book chapters authored by Upjohn Institute researchers, in: Kenneth G. Dau-Schmidt & Seth D. Harris & Orley Lobel (ed.), Labor and Employment Law and Economics, volume 2, pages 480-516 W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    • Stephen A. Woodbury, 2009. "Unemployment," Chapters, in: Labor and Employment Law and Economics, chapter 17 Edward Elgar.
  9. Jalan, Jyotsna & Ravallion, Martin, 1999. "Income gains to the poor from workfare - estimates for Argentina's TRABAJAR Program," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2149, The World Bank.
  10. Gary Burtless, 1985. "Are targeted wage subsidies harmful? Evidence from a wage voucher experiment," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 39(1), pages 105-114, October.
  11. 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.
  12. J.D. Angrist & Guido W. Imbens & D.B. Rubin, 1993. "Identification of Causal Effects Using Instrumental Variables," NBER Technical Working Papers 0136, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Lawrence F. Katz, 1996. "Wage Subsidies for the Disadvantaged," NBER Working Papers 5679, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Petra E. Todd & Jeffrey A. Smith, 2001. "Reconciling Conflicting Evidence on the Performance of Propensity-Score Matching Methods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 112-118, May.
  15. Dubin, Jeffrey A. & Rivers, Douglas, 1993. "Experimental estimates of the impact of wage subsidies," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1-2), pages 219-242, March.
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