October 2018

IZA DP No. 11870: Vocational Training for Unemployed Youth in Latvia: Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design

revised version published as 'Vocational training for unemployed youth in Latvia' in: Journal of Population Economics, 2022, 35, 677–717

This paper evaluates the impact of a vocational training programme on the labour market outcomes of unemployed youth in Latvia. The programme is part of the Youth Guarantee scheme for the period 2014-2020, the largest action launched by the European Union to reduce youth unemployment rate and to support young people aged between 15 and 29 who are not in education, employment or training (NEETs). To estimate the causal effect of participating in the programme on the employment outcomes, we exploit a rule that gives priority for participation to unemployed people under the age of 25 using a fuzzy Regression Discontinuity Design setup. The estimated effects of the programme on the probability of being employed and monthly income up to 3.5 years after registering in the programme are positive but not statistically significant, although we find a strong positive effect of the priority rule on programme participation. This is the first evidence on the impact of a programme within the current Youth Guarantee scheme in Europe and our findings are in line with those from the literature on the evaluation of active labour market policies targeting youth.