May 2013

IZA DP No. 7408: Gender Differences in the Effects of Vocational Training: Constraints on Women and Drop-Out Behavior

Yoon Y. Cho, Davie Kalomba, Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak, Victor Orozco

We provide experimental evidence on the effects of vocational and entrepreneurial training for Malawian youth, in an environment where access to schooling and formal sector employment is extremely low. We track a large fraction of program drop-outs – a common phenomenon in the training evaluation literature – and this allows us to examine the determinants and consequences of drop-out and how it mediates the effects of such programs. We find that women make decisions in a more constrained environment, and their participation affected by family obligations. Participation is more expensive for them, resulting in worse training experience. The training results in skills development, continued investment in human capital, and improved well-being, with more positive effects for men, but no improvements in labor market outcomes in the short run.