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Series # :
  ETAOP 2005-08
Title :
  Use of Experimental Methods in Workforce Evaluation
Release Date :
Abstract :

This paper considers the pros and cons of using randomized trials to improve the effectiveness of workforce policies.  A randomized trial offers researchers a convincing benchmark for measuring program effectiveness.  An experiment allows us to answer a question that is usually unanswerable in nonexperimental studies: How would people enrolled in the tested program have fared if that had not been offered services under the program?


The first part of the paper defines randomized trails and describes their advantages and disadvantages in comparison with other techniques for learning about program effectiveness.  Next, the paper reviews previous use of social experiments in workforce evaluation.  The report then considers lessons from past workforce experiments, particularly about policy questions and the kinds of workforce interventions where experimentation has proved most fruitful.  The final section of the paper considers future social experiments that the Department of Labor (DOL) might sponsor.  Recommendations are based on the authors’ judgment of DOL’s research priorities as well as on their assessment of the successes and failures of previous experiments.

Publication Author(s)
University of Maryland
  • David H. Greenberg
Brookings Institution
Full Text Document(s)
Additional Information

Hard copy available: No