The impact of training vouchers on low-skilled workers

Published in: Labour Economics 31 (2014). 117--128. (with Diana Hidalgo and Dinand Webbink)

This paper reports about a randomized experiment in which training vouchers of €1000 were given to low-skilled workers. The vouchers increase training participation by almost 20 percentage points in two years, relative to a base rate of 0.45. This increased participation comes at a substantial deadweight loss of almost 60 percent. Consistent with predictions from human capital theory, we find that vouchers cause a shift towards more general forms of training. We do not find any significant impact of the program on monthly wages or on job mobility. The program does, however, have a significant impact on future training plans. Compared to always-takers, new trainees are more often male, more risk averse, work shorter hours and are less likely to have participated in training prior to treatment. Compared to never-takers, they are more often female, work longer hours and have a somewhat lower formal education level.

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