Using the Longitudinal Structure of Earnings to Estimate the Effect of Training Programs

34 Pages Posted: 5 Jul 2004 Last revised: 29 Jul 2010

See all articles by Orley Ashenfelter

Orley Ashenfelter

Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

David Card

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: November 1984

Abstract

In this paper we set out some methods that utilize the longitudinal structure of earnings of trainees and a comparison group to estimate the effectiveness of training for the 1976 cohort of CETA trainees. By fitting a components-of-variance model of earnings to the control group, and posing a simple model of program participation, we are able to predict the entire earnings histories of the trainees. The fit of these predictions to the pre-training earnings of the CETA participants provides a test of the model of earnings generation and program participation and simple check on the corresponding estimate of the effectiveness of training.Two factors appear to have a critical influence on the size of the estimated training effects: the time of the decision to participate in training and the presence or absence of individual-specific trends in earnings. We find considerable evidence that trainee earnings contain permanent, transitory,and trend-like components of selection bias. We are less successful in distinguishing empirically between alternative assumptions on the timing of the participation decision. If earnings in the year prior to training are the appropriate selection criterion, however, our estimate of the training effect for adult male CETA participants is about 300 dollars per year. Our estimates for female CETA participants are larger, and less sensitive to alternative models of program participation.

Suggested Citation

Ashenfelter, Orley C. and Card, David E., Using the Longitudinal Structure of Earnings to Estimate the Effect of Training Programs (November 1984). NBER Working Paper No. w1489. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=334309

Orley C. Ashenfelter (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-2098
United States
609-258-4040 (Phone)
609-258-2907 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

David E. Card

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

Room 3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
United States
510-642-5222 (Phone)
510-643-7042 (Fax)

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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