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Does Vocational Education Work? Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in Mongolia (WP-19-20)

Erica Field, Leigh Linden, Ofer Malamud, Daniel Rubenson, and Shing-Yi Wang

This paper estimates the impact of admission to formal vocational secondary programs on labor market outcomes in Mongolia. The researchers conducted public lotteries to allocate scarce slots for approximately 8,000 students who applied to oversubscribed trades in 10 vocational schools during 2010, 2011, and 2012. They find that admission to oversubscribed vocational schools in Mongolia led to significantly higher employment, and increased earnings for women. These positive impacts appear to be due to the acquisition of more skills in specific trades, greater work intensity, and increased employment opportunities in high-paying sectors.

Erica Field, Professor of Economics, Duke University

Leigh Linden, Associate Professor of Economics, University of Texas at Austin

Ofer Malamud, Associate Professor of Human Development and Social Policy and IPR Fellow, Northwestern University

Daniel Rubenson, Associate Professor of Politics and Public Administration, Ryerson University

Shing-Yi Wang, Associate Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy, University of Pennsylvania

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