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Are vocational training programmes worth their cost? Evidence from a cost-benefit analysis
In recent years, there has been growing demand for interventions in support of employment – such as, for example, training courses targeted on the unemployed. However, given the economic crisis and the deterioration of public expenditure, it is imperative for the public authorities to focus on the support measures most effective in ensuring tangible benefits and the efficient use of taxpayers’ money. In regard to active labour policies, not only is it necessary to furnish training courses of real value in terms of enhancing the probability of finding a job; it is also important to focus on the cost-effectiveness of such interventions. This paper complements the empirical literature on the impact evaluation of training courses, and it aids understanding of their cost-effectiveness by comparing the benefits of training courses with the costs of implementing them. We focus on long-duration vocational training courses for unemployed people implemented in the autonomous province of Trento (Italy) in 2010 and 2011, and we find a positive impact on the probability of being employed three years after the programme. Training programmes also have positive effects on earnings, but the overall benefits in the two or three years after the programme do not cover the costs incurred in their delivery.