Labor Markets and Evaluations of Vocational Training Programs in the Public High Schools - Toward a Framework for Analysis

Alan L. Gustman, Thomas L. Steinmeier

NBER Working Paper No. 478 (Also Reprint No. r0292)
Issued in May 1980
NBER Program(s):   LS

A simplified model is constructed to analyze the role played by vocational training programs In high schools. The model assumes that there are two kinds of educational programs in high schools, vocational and general. It also assumes that there are two types of jobs for high school graduates. One job requires training that either can be obtained from a vocational program in high school or as general training on the job. The other job has no special training requirements. The model is used in two ways. First, it is used to examine how the equilibrium outcome is affected by limitations on the number of places in the vocational training program and by the minimum wage. Second, it helps to determine what can be. learned from studies that take what has become a standard approach to evaluating high school vocational training programs -- attempting to estimate the productivity of this program by comparing the earnings of vocational and nonvocational program graduates. We conclude that whether or not limitations on enrollments In vocational programs and minimum wages influence the wage difference between vocational and nonvocational program graduates, findings based on the standard approach to cost-benefit analysis of high school vocational training programs may prove to be highly misleading guides for policy.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w0478

Published: Gustman, Alan L. and Steinmeier, Thomas L. "Labor Markets and Evaluations of Vocational Training Programs in the Public High Schools - Toward a Framework for Analysis." Southern Economic Journal, Vol. 49, No.1, (July 1982),pp. 185-200.

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