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Can arts-based interventions enhance labor market outcomes among youth? Evidence from a randomized trial in Rio de Janeiro

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Abstract

Using a randomized trial, we look at employment and earnings of a youth-training program in Brazil that uses arts- and theater-based pedagogic tools. The evidence we present shows youth benefit in the medium-term from economically large employment and earnings impacts. We find no systematic evidence of broad impacts on socio-emotional skills, although the program appears to develop some skills related to self-control. We also find some evidence to suggest that youth who have higher initial socio-emotional skills may benefit more from the program. We argue that the estimated labor market impacts are due to a combination of both skills formation and signaling of higher quality workers to employers.

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... While vocational skills are an important driver for labor market outcomes, non-technical skills have received increasing attention recently (Calero et al., 2017). These non-technical skills are variously called practical/occupational skills (e.g. using equipment), employability skills (e.g. ...
... This is particularly problematic as many non-cognitive work-relevant skills are difficult to deliver through short-term (classroom-based) training programs (Groh et al., 2016b;J-PAL, 2017). This regards in particular socio-emotional skills, which are shaped early in life and hence difficult to change later (Calero et al., 2017). ...
Thesis
Politische Entscheidungsträger sind zunehmend besorgt über die hohe und steigende Einkommens- und Vermögensungleichheit weltweit (Kanbur, 2019; Wood, 2018). Ein wesentlicher Faktor ist die ungleiche Verteilung von Bildung und produktiven Fähigkeiten innerhalb von Gesellschaften sowie zwischen Ländern (Martin, 2018; Stijn et al., 2019). Die Förderung von benachteiligten Bevölkerungsgruppen neue Kompetenzen zu erwerben ist daher ein wichtiger politischer Hebel zur Bekämpfung von Ungleichheiten (OECD, 2019). Diese Dissertation liefert neue Erkenntnisse darüber, wie Trainingsmaßnahmen gestaltet werden können, um das wirtschaftliche Wohlergehen von Teilnehmer effektiv zu verbessern. Auf der Grundlage kontrafaktischer Wirkungsevaluierungen wird in den vier Kapiteln die Effektivität von Trainingsmaßnahmen in drei zentralen Politikbereichen analysiert: berufliche Fähigkeiten, Unternehmertum und finanzielle Bildung. Die Ergebnisse zeigen, wie wichtig es ist, zielgerichtete und maßgeschneiderte Maßnahmen zu entwickeln, welche gleichzeitig auf verschiedene Bedürfnisse, Einschränkungen und Chancen von geringer-qualifizierten, benachteiligten Personen eingehen.
... Galpão was not intended to reduce the risk behavior of the treatment recipients directly. Calero et al. (2015) evaluated the impact of the program on earnings and employment. In contrast to other interventions that show modest effects from these types of programs (see Kenneth and Palmer 2010), Galpão was effective in increasing employment and earnings. ...
... 11 Non-cognitive skills are difficult to define and generally are associated to work and study habits (i.e., motivation discipline) and behavioral attributes like self-esteem, locus of control, socio-emotional regulation, and self-control (Heckman 2008;Holmlund and Silva 2014). 12 This results are in line with the results presented in the impact evaluation of the Galpão program by (Calero et al. 2015). 13 We also adjust the significance level to correct for multiple testing using Bonferroni's correction. ...
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This paper uses unique experimental data from a youth training program in the Favelas, Brazil, to examine whether youth training programs can prevent treatment recipients from engaging in risk behavior—i.e., cigarettes, alcohol, and hard drug utilization, as well as witnessing or being a victim of violent crime. Although the program was successful in increasing income, we find that it only improved risk behavior of the treated individuals with higher levels of socio-emotional skills. JEL Classification: O11, O22, O17
... Studies used both self-report and other-report measures. Empathic abilities, including cognitive empathy (the ability to recognize and understand mental states of other people; Corbett et al., 2016;Dow et al., 2007;Greene et al., 2018Greene et al., , 2015Matharu et al., 2014;Viding et al., 2015), and affective empathy (the capacity to feel another's emotions, positive and/or negative; Bornmann & Crossman, 2011;Calero et al., 2017;Moore et al., 2017) were evaluated using mostly self-report measures (one study used other-report scales). Social interactions, including the capacity and willingness to interact with others (Spencer et al., 1983;Van Dijk et al., 2012) and adaptive skills (Corbett et al., 2016;Guli et al., 2013;Sertoz et al., 2009) were measured using mostly rating scales completed by independent observers and/or participants' parents. ...
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... Despite the popularity of such hands-on methods and tools, there are still controversial discourses concerning their effectiveness and applicability (Calero et al., 2017;Dunne, 2018;Kagan et al., 2020). Criticism refers to the tools and methods used, as well as the process. ...
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... Exemplos desse formato são programas que alargam o escopo das iniciativas tradicionais para inserir um conteúdo de habilidades socioemocionais. Um programa desse tipo é oferecido pela Organização Não Governamental (ONG) Galpão Aplauso no Rio de Janeiro, e foi objeto de uma avaliação de impacto conduzida por Calero et al. (2017). A proposta é formar uma qualificação mais abrangente, cuja motivação vai além da empregabilidade imediata do jovem. ...
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This Campbell systematic review examines the impact of youth employment interventions on the labour market outcomes of young people and business performance. The review summarises findings from 113 reports of 107 interventions in 31 countries. Included studies had to: (1) evaluate an active labour market programme (ALMP) which was designed for ‐ or targeted primarily ‐ young women and men aged between 15 and 35; (2) have an experimental and quasi‐experimental design; and (3) report at least one eligible outcome variable measuring employment, earnings, or business performance. The evidence base covers 107 interventions in 31 countries, including 55 using skills training, 15 with entrepreneurship promotion, ten using employment services and 21 using subsidized employment. Overall, youth employment interventions increase the employment and earnings of those youth who participate in them. But the effect is small with a lot of variation between programmes. There are significant effects for entrepreneurship promotion and skills training, but not for employment services and subsidised employment. Impacts on earnings were also positive but small and highly variable across programmes. Entrepreneurship promotion and skills training were effective in increasing earnings, while effects of employment services and subsidised employment were negligible or statistically insignificant. There is limited evidence of the effects of youth employment programmes on business performance outcomes, and the effect size was not statistically significant. In addition to the variation in impact across different types of programmes, some variation can be explained by country context, intervention design, and profile and characteristics of programme beneficiaries. The impacts of ALMPs are greater in magnitude in low‐ or middle‐income countries than in high‐income countries. Programmes targeting the most disadvantaged youth were associated with bigger programme effects, particularly for earnings outcomes, and effects were slightly larger for women than for men. Plain language summary Active labour market programmes for youth increase employment and earnings. Effects vary between programmes and context The evidence suggests that investing in youth through active labour market measures, such as offering skills training and entrepreneurship promotion, may pay off with higher earnings. The review in brief Youth are disproportionately victims of unemployment and low‐quality jobs. Active labour market programmes increase earnings and employment. But the effects vary greatly between programmes’ type, design and context. What is this review about? Youth unemployment is much greater than the average unemployment rate for adults, in some cases over three times as high. Today, over 73 million young people are unemployed worldwide. Moreover, two out of five young people in the labour force are either working but poor or are unemployed. The youth employment challenge is not only about job creation, but especially about enhancing the quality of jobs for youth. This systematic review assesses the impact of youth employment interventions on the labour market outcomes of young people. The included interventions are training and skills development, entrepreneurship promotion, employment services and subsidized employment. Outcomes of interest include employment, earnings and business performance outcomes. What is the aim of this review? This Campbell systematic review examines the impact of youth employment interventions on the labour market outcomes of young people and business performance. The review summarises findings from 113 reports of 107 interventions in 31 countries. What are the main findings of this review? Included studies had to: (1) evaluate an active labour market programme (ALMP) which was designed for – or targeted primarily – young women and men aged between 15 and 35; (2) have an experimental and quasi‐experimental design; and (3) report at least one eligible outcome variable measuring employment, earnings, or business performance. The evidence base covers 107 interventions in 31 countries, including 55 using skills training, 15 with entrepreneurship promotion, ten using employment services and 21 using subsidized employment. Overall, youth employment interventions increase the employment and earnings of those youth who participate in them. But the effect is small with a lot of variation between programmes. There are significant effects for entrepreneurship promotion and skills training, but not for employment services and subsidised employment. Impacts on earnings were also positive but small and highly variable across programmes. Entrepreneurship promotion and skills training were effective in increasing earnings, while effects of employment services and subsidised employment were negligible or statistically insignificant. There is limited evidence of the effects of youth employment programmes on business performance outcomes, and the effect size was not statistically significant. In addition to the variation in impact across different types of programmes, some variation can be explained by country context, intervention design, and profile and characteristics of programme beneficiaries. The impacts of ALMPs are greater in magnitude in low‐ or middle‐income countries than in high‐income countries. Programmes targeting the most disadvantaged youth were associated with bigger programme effects, particularly for earnings outcomes, and effects were slightly larger for women than for men. What do the findings of this review mean? The evidence suggests that investing in youth through active labour market measures may pay off. Skills training and entrepreneurship promotion interventions appear to yield positive results on average. So, there are potential benefits from combining supply‐ and demand‐side interventions to support youth in the labour market. The evidence indicates the need for careful design of youth employment interventions. The “how” seems to be more important than the “what” and, in this regard, targeting disadvantaged youth may act as a key factor for success. There is a need to strengthen the evidence base with more studies of promising programmes, especially in sub‐Saharan Africa. Further research should investigate intermediate outcomes and soft skills, and should collect cost data. How up‐to‐date is this review? The review authors searched for studies published up to January 2015. This Campbell systematic review was published in November 2017. Abstract Background – Today's labour market is a challenging arena for young people. Over 73 million youth are currently unemployed and many more are affected by vulnerable employment and working poverty. Youth remain highly susceptible to changing patterns in the world of work and experience slow and difficult transitions to stable jobs. What works to support them in the labour market? This is one of the most common and pressing questions posed by policymakers and practitioners today. Methods – This systematic review addresses this question by synthesizing empirical evidence on the labour market outcomes of active labour market programmes (ALMPs) targeting youth worldwide. Eligible interventions comprised skills training such as technical and business skills, entrepreneurship promotion providing access to finance, employment services providing job‐placement and job‐search assistance, and subsized employment providing wage subsidies or public employment. Outcomes of interest included employment, earnings and business performance. Eligible studies included counterfactual‐based impact evaluations conducted in low‐, middle‐ or high‐income countries. A comprehensive systematic search for relevant evidence across more than 70 sources, using search terms in English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, identified over 30,000 records that were screened. The search process was completed in January 2015. For the selected studies that met the review's inclusion criteria, data were coded and effect sizes calculated. The analysis explores the interventions’ overall effectiveness and the roles that context, evaluation and programme design and implementation play in moderating impact. Results – A total of 113 eligible impact evaluations were identified, encompassing a unique set of evaluation methods, interventions and geographical coverage. Meta‐analysis methods were employed to synthesize the evidence, based on 2,259 imputed effect sizes. Overall, empirical results indicated positive effects of entrepreneurship promotion and skills training on employment and earnings. Effects of employment services and subsidised employment were generally small and non‐significant. We estimated bigger programme effects in low‐ and middle‐income countries than in high‐income countries, and in programmes targeting disadvantaged youth. Implications – Active measures to support the (re) integration of young women and men into the labour market may succeed in enhancing employment and earnings outcomes and have potential to increase human capital and employment prospects in the long‐term. The evidence suggested that programmes targeting disadvantaged youth are particularly effective. Entrepreneurship promotion and skills training programmes appear to be a particularly promising intervention for improving employment, earnings and business performance, but the evidence base is still relatively small. More rigorous impact evidence is needed for particular employment programmes more generally, including employment services, subsidised employment and entrepreneurship promotion. Executive summary Background The youth of today represent a vast potential for inclusive growth and development. If youth are given the opportunity to build appropriate skills and access decent employment, they can help to accelerate progress on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and engage in meaningful work that benefits them, their families and society as a whole. Unfortunately, decent jobs are not a feasible prospect for all young women and men. Today, over 73 million young people are unemployed worldwide. Youth unemployment stands at a much higher level than the average unemployment rate for adults, in some cases over three times as high. Moreover, two out of five young people in the labour force are either working but poor or unemployed. The youth employment challenge is therefore not only about job creation, but also – and especially – about enhancing the quality of jobs for youth. Youth's gloomy prospects in the labour market embody a massive waste of potential and a threat to social cohesion. Understanding what works to improve their labour market outcomes is therefore of paramount importance and a development priority for all countries and regions. Objectives The aim of this systematic review was to investigate the impact of youth employment interventions on the labour market outcomes of young people. The interventions under review comprised training and skills development, entrepreneurship promotion, employment services and subsidized employment. Outcomes of interest included employment, earnings and business performance outcomes. Search Methods The review relied on a comprehensive systematic search across more than 70 sources, including literature databases and a large number of websites, which allowed the identification of both published and unpublished studies . The search process included both a primary search (i.e., searching of a wide range of general and specialized databases) and a complementary search (i.e., hand‐searching of relevant websites, searching of dissertations, theses and grey literature databases, citation tracking, screening of reference lists and contacting authors and experts). The in‐depth complementary search allowed the identification of several unpublished studies. The process included search terms in English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish. The search process was completed in January 2015. Selection Criteria Eligible studies are those that: • 1 evaluated an active labour market programme (ALMP) that included at least one of the following categories of interventions: training and skills development (such as technical and non‐technical skills), entrepreneurship promotion (providing access to capital, from financing to entrepreneurial skills that would enhance human capital), employment services (providing job‐placement and job‐search assistance, among other services) and/or subsidized employment (providing wage subsidies or public employment programmes); • 2 investigated programmes that were designed for – or targeted primarily – young women and men aged between 15 and 35; • 3 reflected completed experimental and quasi‐experimental evaluations measuring impacts on eligible labour market outcomes; and • 4 reported at least one eligible outcome variable measuring employment (e.g., probability of employment, hours worked, duration in unemployment), earnings (e.g., reported earnings, wages, consumption) or business performance (e.g., profits, sales). In addition to the above inclusion criteria, the review focused on studies with a publication date between 1990 and 2014. No language restrictions were applied. Data Collection and Analysis A coding tool and manual were developed in order to guide a harmonised data extraction process. Treatment effect estimates were coded across all studies that met the inclusion criteria, along with other parameters and intervention characteristics deemed relevant for the analysis. Additional, non‐reported information was retrieved from authors of the primary studies, supporting the computation of standardized mean differences (SMDs) effect sizes. The SMDs captured the relative magnitude of the treatment effect in a dimensionless way, which was therefore comparable across outcomes and studies. Effect sizes were summarized within and across reports to one effect size per outcome for each study. Random‐effects meta‐analysis methods were employed to synthesize and compare effect sizes reported in the primary studies. Subsequently, multivariate meta‐regression models were estimated and information about intervention‐level, study‐level and country‐level characteristics were included to assess factors associated with the magnitude of reported effect size estimates. Results The primary and complementary searches identified 32,117 records, of which a total of 1,141 records were selected for full text screening. The subsequent selection process led to a sample of 113 reports, which were considered to be of adequate content and methodological rigour for inclusion in the meta‐analysis. The 113 reports represented 107 interventions. The evidence base spanned 31 countries and covered 55 skills training interventions, 15 entrepreneurship promotion interventions, ten employment services interventions and 21 subsidized employment interventions. There were six interventions for which no clear main category of intervention could be established. A large share of the evidence derived from recent publications, with nearly half of the sample produced after 2010. Evaluation designs varied, with 47 per cent of reports relying on experimental designs, 10 per cent on natural experiments and 44 per cent on quasi‐experimental evaluations. Many of the most recent studies were experimental evaluations of interventions implemented in low‐ and middle‐income countries, Not ably from Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean. Intervention characteristics and research designs differed significantly between evaluations implemented in high‐income and low‐ or middle‐income countries. A large proportion of the evidence from high‐income countries derived from quasi‐experimental studies of national programmes, implemented in collaboration with government organizations. In contrast, the evidence from low‐ and middle‐income countries was predominantly based on experimental impact evaluations of rather small‐scale, targeted interventions, which were often implemented by Non‐governmental Organizations (NGOs) or international organizations. The comprehensive systematic search led to the identification and coding of a total of 3,629 treatment effect estimates. These estimates, along with further information reported and/or retrieved from authors of the primary studies and imputation of missing information, allowed the computation of 2,259 SMDs. The following are some of the key results from the meta‐analysis of SMD effect sizes. These findings appear robust to the different study designs employed, as similar results were found for a restricted sample of the most rigorous designs (experimental impact evaluations). However, there was also statistical evidence for small study effects for all outcomes, suggesting the presence of publication bias in the literature. • 1 Youth employment interventions may lead to positive outcomes, increasing employment and earnings of participating youth. The positive effect on employment was captured by an overall SMD effect size of 0.04 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.03, 0.06) across 105 interventions, demonstrating that young people who were exposed to a youth employment intervention on average had better employment outcomes than those who were not. Effects across studies were, however, heterogeneous (I‐squared=64%). Sub‐group analysis by intervention category indicated that entrepreneurship promotion (SMD=0.16; 95% CI=0.06, 0.26; I‐sq=71%; evidence from seven interventions) and skills training (SMD=0.05, 95% CI=0.02, 0.07; I‐sq=65%; 67 interventions) on average improved employment outcomes. Effects were small and not statistically significant for employment services (SMD=0.01; 95% CI=‐0.02, 0.04; I‐sq=0%; 10 interventions) and subsidised employment (SMD=0.02; 95% CI=‐0.01, 0.06; I‐sq=50%; 16 interventions). The residual inconsistency in subsidized employment estimates suggested further moderator and sub‐group analyses were needed. • 2 Impacts on earnings were positive and statistically significant on average, with an effect size of 0.05 SMD (95% CI = 0.03, 0.06) across 92 interventions. Findings exhibit again high heterogeneity, i.e. were highly inconsistent across programmes (I‐squared=82%). Further analysis by intervention categories again indicated that entrepreneurship promotion (SMD=0.09; 95% CI=0.01, 0.18; I‐sq=64%; 12 interventions) and skills training (SMD=0.07; 95% CI=0.05, 0.08; I‐sq=86%; 60 interventions) were effective in raising earnings, while effects of employment services (SMD=0.01; 95% CI=0.00, 0.02; I‐sq=0%; eight interventions) and subsidised employment (SMD=‐0.01; 95% CI=‐0.05, 0.03; I‐sq=61%; nine interventions) were negligible and/or statistically insignificant. The residual inconsistency in subsidized employment estimates again suggested more analysis by moderator variables and sub‐groups. • 3 Evidence of youth employment programme effects on business performance outcomes was limited and the effect size was not statistically significant (SMD = 0.03; 95% CI = ‐0.05, 0.12; I‐sq=49%) across 14 interventions. When entrepreneurship promotion interventions were considered in isolation, the impact was larger and significant, at 0.10 SMD (95% CI = 0, 0.19; I‐sq=39%; 10 interventions). Evidence from the small number of evaluations of skills training did not suggest positive or significant effects on business performance outcomes (SMD=‐0.09; 95% CI=‐0.19, 0.01; I‐sq=0; 4 interventions). • 4 The high degree of inconsistency across interventions suggested programme impacts concealed major contextual differences. The meta‐analysis showed important differences in the magnitudes of impact across outcomes and interventions. Despite the strong similarities across included studies, the differences in impact were not always driven by chance. Tests for heterogeneity demonstrated substantial variation in the effect size magnitude due to: country context, intervention design, and profile and characteristics of programme beneficiaries. • 5 The underlying evidence base varies by country income level. Results suggest impacts of ALMPs are greater in magnitude in low‐ or middle‐income countries than in high‐income countries. In low‐ and middle‐income countries, skills training (SMD=0.06; 95% CI=0.02, 0.10; I‐sq=76%; 38 interventions), entrepreneurship promotion (SMD=0.18; 95% CI=0.06, 0.29; I‐sq=12%; 5 interventions) and subsidised employment (SMD=0.11; 95% CI=0.04, 0.18; I‐sq=11%; 5 interventions) were effective in increasing employment on average. Skills training (SMD=0.12; 95% CI=0.08, 0.16; I‐sq=77%; 39 interventions) and entrepreneurship promotion (SMD=0.14; 95% CI=0.06, 0.22; I‐sq=15%; 10 interventions) also yielded positive results, on average, in terms of income gains. • 6 In high‐income countries, the overall effects of ALMPs on employment (SMD=0.04; 95% CI=0.01, 0.07; I‐sq=57%; 52 interventions) and earnings (SMD=0.01; 95% CI=‐0.01, 0.02; I‐sq=70%; 31 interventions) were small. In sub‐group analysis by intervention type, only skills training appeared to effectuate some (albeit small) impact average on employment (SMD=0.04; 95% CI=0.01, 0.07; I‐sq=58%). • 7 Programmes targeting the most disadvantaged youth were associated with bigger programme effects, particularly for earnings outcomes. Across measures of targeting, a focus on low‐income youth, those with low levels of education or exhibiting strong disadvantages in the labour market was associated with marginally higher employment (SMD=0.06; 95% CI=0.02, 0.09; I‐sq=66%) and significantly higher earnings gains (SMD=0.13; 95% CI=0.09, 0.18; I‐sq=82%) for youth across all country income levels than employment (SMD=0.03; 95% CI=0.01, 0.06; I‐sq=56%) and earnings (SMD=0.02; 95% CI=0.00, 0.03; I‐sq=73%) for less disadvantaged youth. • 8 Looking at differences in effects by gender, the findings suggested that employment and earnings outcomes for women were marginally larger than those for men. • 9 The systematic review captured information about the type of skills delivered to young people and found no particular connection between soft skills and better labour market outcomes. Similarly, there was no systematic evidence about the role of public, private or civil entities in the implementation of a youth employment programme. Conclusions The extent and urgency of the youth employment challenge and the level of global attention currently being given to this topic calls for more and better evidence‐based action. Accordingly, this systematic review sought to examine the empirical evidence in order to understand what drives the success (or failure) of youth employment interventions. Investments in youth employment will continue, and even increase, as countries embark on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; therefore, this review focused on identifying “what works” and, as far as possible, “how”. This systematic review builds on a growing base of studies measuring the impact of youth employment interventions and offers a rigorous synthesis and overall balance of empirical evidence taking into account the quality of the underlying research. The review is systematic through a clearly defined and transparent inclusion and exclusion criteria, an objective and extensive search, a punctual data extraction process, a standardized statistical testing and analysis, and a thorough reporting of findings. These elements and underlying methods and tools were laid out and reviewed in the protocol (Kluve et al., 2014). The evidence suggests that investing in youth through active labour market measures may pay off. The evidence also shows a significant impact gap across country income levels. Being unemployed or unskilled in a high‐income country – where labour demand is skill intensive – puts youth at a distinct disadvantage in comparison to a cohort that is, on average, well educated. While ALMPs in high‐income countries can integrate disadvantaged young people into the labour market, they are not able to fully compensate for a lack of skills or other areas where youth failed to gain sufficient benefit from the education system. On the other hand, in lower income countries, with large cohorts of disadvantaged youth, marginal investments in skills and employment opportunities are likely to lead to larger changes in outcomes. Youth‐targeted ALMPs in low‐ and middle‐income countries do lead to impacts on both employment and earnings outcomes. Specifically, skills training and entrepreneurship promotion interventions appear to yield positive results on average. This is an important finding, which points to the potential benefits of combining supply‐ and demand‐side interventions to support youth in the labour market. The evidence also calls for careful design of youth employment interventions. The “how” seems to be more important than the “what” and, in this regard, targeting disadvantaged youth may act as key factors of success. The findings from this review need to be discussed vis‐à‐vis the local and national context and should be complemented by a long‐term and holistic commitment towards youth development. Achieving an understanding of the “how” element is not an easy task. Although the systematic review excluded studies that only reported relative effects, it is also the case that, frequently, impact evaluations do not assess relative effectiveness. Even more often, reports and papers fail to describe the underlying theory of change and observed transmission mechanisms behind an intervention. In some other cases, there is limited information about the characteristics of programme participants in the evaluation sample and their comparison group. Much remains to be done to improve reporting standards and advocate for more and better evidence examining the impact of youth employment interventions. The quality of the primary studies determines the quality of the systematic review and any subsequent synthesis of the evidence. The review supported the identification of important evidence gaps: • • It is important to note that despite the large and significant magnitude of effect of entrepreneurship promotion interventions in low‐ and middle‐income countries, the evidence base is still limited and exhibits high variance, calling for more primary studies on this promising intervention type. Similarly, more and better evidence is needed on employment services, wage subsidies and public employment programmes for youth, particularly in low‐ and middle‐income countries. • • While the review highlighted a growing evaluation evidence from youth employment programmes implemented in Sub‐Saharan Africa, it also reported very limited information from the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia and East Asia and the Pacific. These are regions were more targeted action to expand the evidence base should be considered. • • Similarly, more research is needed on intermediate outcomes in primary studies and evidence synthesis work. This is linked to the importance of improving research‐reporting standards and expanding the scope of outcomes of interest in order to better synthesize evidence about how interventions affect knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviours. More and better information on these intermediate outcomes will improve overall understanding about the causality and pathways of change between the intervention and the final outcomes. • • Soft skills are highly demanded by employers today. Their role in generating better outcomes is yet to be corroborated and more inquiry is required to understand their role in the causal chain as well as their interaction with more technical skills sets. • • Lastly, future primary studies and evidence syntheses should engage with cost information. The applicability of the evidence hinges not only on its internal and external validity but also on its feasibility. More information is needed on programme costs as well as systematic comparisons against programme effects. What may look highly effective may in fact be too expensive to replicate or scale up.
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This is a chapter in the 2018 World Development Report, first of the Bank's flagship publication to feature education as a sole topic
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this paper are described in Appendix 1. Methods of estimation differ of course, and the demographic groups covered and the years for which the data apply vary considerably. We have surveyed these studies and selected what we considered to be the best specified estimates in each study. For example, we favored estimates using measurement error correction and instrumental variables estimation or other techniques to take account of endogeneity of the explanatory variables. We have included all studies available to us
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Panel data on MBA graduates is used in an attempt to empirically distinguish between human capital and signaling models of education. The existence of employment observations prior to MBA enrollment allows for the control of unobserved ability or selection into MBA programs (through the use of individual fixed effects). In addition, variation in the amount of pre-MBA work experience allows for a test to distinguish between the models. In particular, a predominant signaling view is shown to predict smaller returns to the degree, the more pre-MBA work experience one has (controlling for total experience). Additionally, a unique feature of the data is that respondents were asked to report skills or abilities gained through their schooling, allowing us to determine the extent to which these purported skills are valued in the labor market. The combined evidence suggests that while human capital accumulation may contribute to the returns to an MBA, the majority of the returns is derived from the signaling/screening function of the degree.
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This paper summarizes recent evidence on what achievement tests measure; how achievement tests relate to other measures of "cognitive ability" like IQ and grades; the important skills that achievement tests miss or mismeasure, and how much these skills matter in life. Achievement tests miss, or perhaps more accurately, do not adequately capture, soft skills-personality traits, goals, motivations, and preferences that are valued in the labor market, in school, and in many other domains. The larger message of this paper is that soft skills predict success in life, that they causally produce that success, and that programs that enhance soft skills have an important place in an effective portfolio of public policies.
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This paper explores the power of personality traits both as predictors and as causes of academic and economic success, health, and criminal activity. Measured personality is interpreted as a construct derived from an economic model of preferences, constraints, and information. Evidence is reviewed about the "situational specificity" of personality traits and preferences. An extreme version of the situationist view claims that there are no stable personality traits or preference parameters that persons carry across different situations. Those who hold this view claim that personality psychology has little relevance for economics. The biological and evolutionary origins of personality traits are explored. Personality measurement systems and relationships among the measures used by psychologists are examined. The predictive power of personality measures is compared with the predictive power of measures of cognition captured by IQ and achievement tests. For many outcomes, personality measures are just as predictive as cognitive measures, even after controlling for family background and cognition. Moreover, standard measures of cognition are heavily influenced by personality traits and incentives. Measured personality traits are positively correlated over the life cycle. However, they are not fixed and can be altered by experience and investment. Intervention studies, along with studies in biology and neuroscience, establish a causal basis for the observed effect of personality traits on economic and social outcomes. Personality traits are more malleable over the life cycle compared to cognition, which becomes highly rank stable around age 10. Interventions that change personality are promising avenues for addressing poverty and disadvantage.
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This article presents a meta-analysis of recent microeconometric evaluations of active labour market policies. We categorise 199 programme impacts from 97 studies conducted between 1995 and 2007. Job search assistance programmes yield relatively favourable programme impacts, whereas public sector employment programmes are less effective. Training programmes are associated with positive medium-term impacts, although in the short term they often appear ineffective. We also find that the outcome variable used to measure programme impact matters, but neither the publication status of a study nor the use of a randomised design is related to the sign or significance of the programme estimate.
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Active Labor Market Programs are widely used in European countries, but despite many econometric evaluation studies analyzing particular programs no conclusive cross-country evidence exists regarding "what program works for what target group under what (economic and institutional) circumstances?". This paper aims at answering this question using a meta-analysis based on a data set that comprises 137 program evaluations from 19 countries. The empirical results of the meta-analysis are surprisingly clear-cut: Rather than contextual factors such as labor market institutions or the business cycle, it is almost exclusively the program type that seems to matter for program effectiveness. While direct employment programs in the public sector frequently appear detrimental, wage subsidies and "Services and Sanctions" can be effective in increasing participants' employment probability. Training programs - the most commonly used type of active policy - show modestly positive effects.
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This paper evaluates the impact of a randomized training program for disadvantaged youth introduced in Colombia in 2005. This randomized trial offers a unique opportunity to examine the impact of training in a middle income country. We use originally collected data on individuals randomly offered and not offered training. The program raises earnings and employment for women. Women offered training earn 19.6 percent more and have a 0.068 higher probability of paid employment than those not offered training, mainly in formal-sector jobs. Cost-benefit analysis of these results suggests that the program generates much larger net gains than those found in developed countries. (JEL I28, J13, J24, O15)
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Why do apparently similar people have varied success in the labor market? While cognitive performance and educational attainment have been shown to be strong indicators of economic success, there remains a large portion of unexplained variance in earnings after controlling for the standard variables. This paper uses the National Longitudinal Survey of Young Women and women from the National Child Development Study to explore the value of incorporating psychological traits into wage determination models. This research finds that traits such as locus of control, aggression, and withdrawal are all statistically significant factors in the wage determination models of white women.
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We examine whether or not unemployment early in an individual's career influences her later employment prospects. We use six years of the Labour Force Survey (LFS) to create pseudo-cohorts and exploit cross-cohort variation in unemployment at school-leaving age to identify this. We find heterogeneous responses: for the unskilled, there is evidence of an enduring adverse effect; for the more skilled, there is a small beneficial effect.
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We provide the first joint evidence on the relationship between individuals' cognitive abilities, their personality and earnings for Germany. Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study, we employ scores from an ultra-short IQ-test and a set of measures of personality traits, namely locus of control, reciprocity and all basic items from the Five Factor Personality Inventory. Our estimates suggest a positive effect of so-called fluid intelligence or speed of cognition on males' wages only. Findings for personality traits are more heterogeneous. However, there is a robust wage penalty for an external locus of control for both men and women.
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The idea that music makes you smarter has received considerable attention from scholars and the media. The present report is the first to test this hypothesis directly with random assignment of a large sample of children (N = 144) to two different types of music lessons (keyboard or voice) or to control groups that received drama lessons or no lessons. IQ was measured before and after the lessons. Compared with children in the control groups, children in the music groups exhibited greater increases in full-scale IQ. The effect was relatively small, but it generalized across IQ subtests, index scores, and a standardized measure of academic achievement. Unexpectedly, children in the drama group exhibited substantial pre- to post-test improvements in adaptive social behavior that were not evident in the music groups.
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The authors adopt the Five-Factor Model of personality structure to explore how personality affected the earnings of a large group of men and women who graduated from Wisconsin high schools in 1957 and were re-interviewed in 1992. All five basic traits--extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience--had statistically significant positive or negative earnings effects, and together they appear to have had effects comparable to those commonly found for cognitive ability. Among men, substantial earnings advantages were associated with antagonism (the obverse of agreeableness), emotional stability (the obverse of neuroticism), and openness to experience; among women, with conscientiousness and openness to experience. Of the five traits, the evidence indicates that agreeableness had the greatest influence on gender differences in earnings: men were considerably more antagonistic (non-agreeable) than women, on average, and men alone were rewarded for that trait.
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Families, primarily female-headed minority households with children, living in high-poverty public housing projects in five U.S. cities were offered housing vouchers by lottery in the Moving to Opportunity program. Four to seven years after random assignment, families offered vouchers lived in safer neighborhoods that had lower poverty rates than those of the control group not offered vouchers. We find no significant overall effects of this intervention on adult economic self-sufficiency or physical health. Mental health benefits of the voucher offers for adults and for female youth were substantial. Beneficial effects for female youth on education, risky behavior, and physical health were offset by adverse effects for male youth. For outcomes that exhibit significant treatment effects, we find, using variation in treatment intensity across voucher types and cities, that the relationship between neighborhood poverty rate and outcomes is approximately linear. Copyright The Econometric Society 2007.
Article
The authors investigate the separate effects of a training program on the duration of participants' subsequent employment and unemployment spells. This program randomly assigned volunteers to treatment and control groups. However, the treatments and controls experiencing subsequent employment and unemployment spells are not generally comparable subsets of the initial groups. Standard practice in duration models ignores this issue, leading to a sample selection problem and misleading estimates of the training effects. The authors propose an estimator that addresses this problem and find that the program studied, the National Supported Work Demonstration, raised trainees' employment rates solely by lengthening their employment durations. Copyright 1996 by The Econometric Society.
Article
This paper presents the case for investing more in young American children who grow up in disadvantaged environment. It is argued that, on productivity grounds, it makes sense to invest in young children from disadvantaged environments. Substantial evidence shows that these children are more likely to commit crime, have out-of-wedlock births and drop out of school. Early interventions that partially remediate the effects of adverse environments can reverse some of the harm of disadvantage and have a high economic return. They benefit not only the children themselves, but also their children, as well as society at large [NBER WP 13016].
Labor market insertion of young adults in Chile. Inter-American Development Bank
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Does perseverance pay as much as being smart?: the returns to cognitive and non-cognitive skills in urban Peru
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Think before you act: A new approach to preventing youth violence and dropout. The Hamilton Project Discussion Paper
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The Effects Of An Apprenticeship Program On Wages And Employability Of Youths in Brazil
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Youth labor market in Brazil through the lens of the flow approach
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