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Gender Differences in the Effects of Vocational Training: Constraints on Women and Drop-Out Behavior
Last registered on August 17, 2016

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Gender Differences in the Effects of Vocational Training: Constraints on Women and Drop-Out Behavior
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0001426
Initial registration date
August 17, 2016
Last updated
August 17, 2016 2:25 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Yale University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
World Bank
PI Affiliation
Malawi National AIDS Commission
PI Affiliation
World Bank
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2010-03-01
End date
2011-08-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
This paper provides experimental evidence on the effects of vocational and entrepreneurial training for Malawian youth, in an environment where access to schooling and formal sector employment is extremely low. It tracks a large fraction of program drop-outs—a common phenomenon in the training evaluation literature—and examines the determinants and consequences of dropping out and how it mediates the effects of such programs. The analysis finds that women make decisions in a more constrained environment, and their participation is affected by family obligations. Participation is more expensive for them, resulting in worse training experience. The training results in skills development, continued investment in human capital, and improved well-being, with more positive effects for men, but no improvements in labor market outcomes in the short run.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Cho, Yoonyoung et al. 2016. "Gender Differences in the Effects of Vocational Training: Constraints on Women and Drop-Out Behavior." AEA RCT Registry. August 17. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.1426-1.0.
Former Citation
Cho, Yoonyoung et al. 2016. "Gender Differences in the Effects of Vocational Training: Constraints on Women and Drop-Out Behavior." AEA RCT Registry. August 17. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/1426/history/10180.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
To address employability issues, promote productive self-employment, and reduce vulnerability to risky sexual behavior, in 2009 the Government of Malawi piloted a new apprenticeship program through the Technical Education and Vocational Education and Training Authority (TEVETA). TEVETA identified a pool of master craftspeople (MCs), based on their expertise and business performance, and provided them with a one-day training on how to use the customized training module specific to each of their trades (e.g. auto, clothing, construction, metalwork). Each MC trained between 1 and 8 youth at their workshop for approximately three months. The program was designed to provide apprenticeship rather than classroom-based training, and targeted mainly orphans or school dropouts aged 15-24.

Working with TEVETA, we evaluated the impact of the vocational training program on skill development, employment and well-being. Eligible youth, mainly orphans or school dropouts, from 28 districts in Malawi were randomly assigned to either the treatment group that started the program immediately, or the comparison group that started the program around four months later. Two-thirds of the 1,900 eligible youth were randomly assigned to the treatment group, while the remaining third was assigned to the comparison group.

Training started between August 2010 and May 2011 and lasted an average of three months—the exact duration depended on the type of skill being taught. We deployed a follow-up survey between June and August 2011, which included questions on time use, employment status, psychological well-being, risky sexual behavior, and trainee assessments of training quality.

Like many development programs, TEVETA suffered from several setbacks including trainees who did not receive training invitations, non-participation by invited trainees, and trainees who started but did not finish the program (dropouts). We tracked a large portion of program dropouts in order to examine the determinants and consequences of dropping out.
Intervention Start Date
2010-08-01
Intervention End Date
2011-05-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
- skill development: self-reported level of expertise, participants’ ability to calculate profit, knowledge of how to start a business
- economic wellbeing: total earning, monthly expenditure
- employment
- health and wellbeing: self-reported happiness level and life satisfaction, comparative life improvement
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The evaluation used an experimental phase-in design. Participants were randomly assigned to two cohorts, a treatment group that started the program immediately, and a control group that started the program around 4 months later on average, right around the time of the follow-up survey. We are therefore able to report short-run effects of training. Two thirds of the 1,900 eligible youth were assigned to treatment and the remaining third to the control group.

The baseline survey was collected in March-April 2010 on a random subset of the youth selected. We surveyed 1,122 individuals of the original 1,900, of whom 363 were in the control group and 759 were in the treatment group. Summary statistics from the baseline survey indicate that randomization was successful in achieving balance across treatment and control groups. Trainees reported to training between August 2010 and May 2011; the specific start date varied by district and by MC. Training lasted for three months on average, but varied depending on the type of skill being taught.

The follow-up survey was conducted in June-August, 2011. The follow-up survey included questions on time use, employment, psychological well-being, risky sexual behavior, and trainee assessments of training quality. In order to increase the sample size, we returned to the original pool of 1,900 youth who had been selected to participate in the study. The sample at follow-up is composed of the 755 baseline respondents who we were able to find at the time of follow-up, plus 274 new participants (181 treatment, 93 control), for a total of 1,029 respondents.
In addition, we surveyed all MCs regarding their experience as trainers and their perception of each of the trainees’ skills, diligence, effort, attendance, and so on. Finally, we also conducted a brief qualitative survey with the implementing agency’s desk officers regarding their experience with the intervention to inform future program design.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
By computer using Excel and Stata
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
1,122 individuals
Sample size: planned number of observations
1,122 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Treatment group (started the TEVETA program immediately): 759 individuals
Comparison group (started the program around four months later): 363 individuals
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
May 31, 2011, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
August 31, 2011, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
1,029 respondents
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Yes
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
Treatment assignment is relevant for women in their likelihood of attrition, but not statistically significant at conventional levels. We therefore still present results separately by gender throughout the paper.
Total Number of Observations: 1,029 respondents
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
Treatment group (started the TEVETA program immediately): 698 individuals Comparison group (started the program around four months later): 331 individuals
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
No
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers
Abstract
This paper provides experimental evidence on the effects of vocational and entrepreneurial training for Malawian youth, in an environment where access to schooling and formal sector employment is extremely low. It tracks a large fraction of program drop-outs—a common phenomenon in the training evaluation literature—and examines the determinants and consequences of dropping out and how it mediates the effects of such programs. The analysis finds that women make decisions in a more constrained environment, and their participation is affected by family obligations. Participation is more expensive for them, resulting in worse training experience. The training results in skills development, continued investment in human capital, and improved well-being, with more positive effects for men, but no improvements in labor market outcomes in the short run.
Citation
Cho, Yoonyoung, Davie Kalomba, Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak, and Victor Orozco. "Gender Differences in the Effects of Vocational Training: Constraints on Women and Drop-out Behavior." World Bank Policy Research Working Paper #6545, July 2013.