Learning and earning: Evidence from a randomized evaluation in India

Pushkar Maitra, Subha Mani

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37 Citations (Scopus)


Our paper presents the economic returns from participating in a subsidized vocational education program for women residing in low-income households in India. We combine pre-intervention data with two rounds of post-intervention data in an experimental framework to quantify the 6- and 18-month treatment effects of the program. The 6-month treatment effects indicate that women who were offered the vocational education program are 6% points more likely to be employed, 4% points more likely to be self-employed, work 2.5 additional hours per week, and earn 150% more per month than women in the control group. Using a second round of follow-up data collected 18 months after the intervention, we find that the 6-month treatment effects are all sustained over the medium run. Finally, cost-benefit analysis indicates that the program costs can be recovered with less than four years of employment. Overall our findings suggest that vocational education may serve to be a promising avenue through which young women can contribute to their household welfare.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-130
Number of pages15
JournalLabour Economics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017


  • Economic returns
  • Field experiment
  • India
  • Panel data
  • Vocational education

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