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The Returns to Attending a Vocational Education School: Evidence from a RCT in Mongolia
Last registered on March 30, 2015


Trial Information
General Information
The Returns to Attending a Vocational Education School: Evidence from a RCT in Mongolia
Initial registration date
March 30, 2015
Last updated
March 30, 2015 5:38 PM EDT
Primary Investigator
The University of Texas at Austin
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Duke University
PI Affiliation
Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
PI Affiliation
Ryerson University
PI Affiliation
University of Texas at Austin
Additional Trial Information
On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Does admission to a Vocational and Technical Education Training (TVET) school increase the wages and employability of poor Mongolians? This study will evaluate the admission to TVET schools on both academic and labor-market outcomes. We hypothesize that being admitted to a TVET school will cause students to have better labor market outcomes. We hypothesize that admission to TVET schools will increase their factual understanding of trades and familiarize the students with the tools actually used by employers. Employers should then find students more productive than they otherwise would, making it more likely that students will be able to find employment and increasing the wages that employers are willing to pay them. To identify these effects, we worked with a select set of TVET schools in Mongolia to conduct admissions lotteries in three admission years, 2010, 2011, and 2012. Baseline data was collected at time of admission application and follow-up data will be analyzed to assess the impact of TVET admission on labor market outcomes.
Registration Citation
Field, Erica et al. 2015. "The Returns to Attending a Vocational Education School: Evidence from a RCT in Mongolia." AEA RCT Registry. March 30. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.637-1.0.
Former Citation
Field, Erica et al. 2015. "The Returns to Attending a Vocational Education School: Evidence from a RCT in Mongolia." AEA RCT Registry. March 30. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/637/history/3901.
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Experimental Details
We evaluate the impact of being admitted to Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) schools in Mongolia. Students are admitted to study a specific trade in 1, 2, or 2.5 year programs.

Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Key outcomes include earnings, employment, type of employment, and graduates' trade-specific skills.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
This study will primarily evaluate the impact of admission to Vocational Education Schools on both academic and labor-market outcomes. The program to reform TVET schools in Mongolia was sponsored by the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Comparable control and treatment groups necessary to estimate the effect of TVET training was created through randomized admissions process in three consecutive academic years. Out of a pool of ‘qualified’ applicants, students were chosen at random to gain admittance to the school. The randomized design ensured that all qualified applicants have an equal probability of receiving vocational and technical training. Qualified applicants who were not admitted will serve as the control group. Surveys were administered to the entire pool of applicants at the time of the application, including a standardized general knowledge test to measure skill levels and academic performance. Shortly after graduation, a follow-up survey will be administered to collect information on labor-market outcomes, including wages and hours worked. Students will also complete standardized trade tests that measure knowledge and skills in specific trades. This follow-up survey will continue annually for three years.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done by computer
Randomization Unit
Randomization occurred at the level of the individual applicant to the TVET schools.
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
8,126 accepted to TVET schools through admissions lottery, 2,264 not accepted
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
MDE's for Monthly Exposure to Improved Equipment: Upper bound: 0.01 std. deviations for Skills Test scores; 0.42% Employment change; 1.7 USD monthly income change Lower Bound: 0.0056 Std. deviations for skills test scores; 0.24% Employment change and 0.94 USD monthly income change
IRB Name
Human Subjects Committee for Innovations for Poverty Action
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
183.10 August.-003
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Is the intervention completed?
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
Program Files
Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)