The Impact of Vocational Training Interventions on Youth Labor Market Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis

59 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2022


This paper synthesizes the empirical evidence of youth-targeted vocational training interventions on labor market outcomes. Our sample includes over 1,650 effect size estimates from 89 impact evaluations globally. Our analysis yields three main findings. First, vocational training has an economically meaningful impact on youth labor market outcomes (+0.105SD), twice that reported in previous reviews. Second, country income level does not predict effect size magnitude – implying that well-designed interventions can work irrespective of labor market challenges. Third, the time-profile and mechanism of successful trainings differ between High-income countries (HICs) and Lower-/Middle-income countries (L/MICs). In HICs, effect sizes increase over time and more intensive interventions yield larger impacts. In L/MICs, shorter interventions are associated with larger effect sizes but these are often short-lived. Our findings suggest that mechanisms of effective interventions differ: impacts result from a human-capital mechanism of training in HICs and from a signaling and screening mechanism in L/MIC.

Keywords: Youth employment, Vocational skills training, Active labor market policy, Jmpact evaluations, Meta-analysis, Human Capital

Suggested Citation

Stöterau, Jonathan and Kemper, Johanna and Ghisletta, Andrea, The Impact of Vocational Training Interventions on Youth Labor Market Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis. Available at SSRN: or

Jonathan Stöterau (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Johanna Kemper

ETH Zurich ( email )

Zurich, CH-8092
United States

Andrea Ghisletta

University of Basel ( email )

Petersplatz 1
Basel, CH-4003

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