Starting points matter: Cash plus training effects on youth entrepreneurship, skills, and resilience during an epidemic.

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Date: Jan. 2022
From: World Development(Vol. 149)
Publisher: Elsevier Science Publishers
Document Type: Article
Length: 516 words

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Abstract :

Keyword Human capital; Cash transfers; Jobs; Youth; Shocks; Entrepreneurship; Sierra Leone; RCT; Epidemics Highlights * A cash-plus-training program (in either technical, business skills or both) during an epidemic, helped to build household resilience. * The intervention increased employment and entrepreneurship and built cognitive and non-cognitive skills. * Youth with higher initial ability experienced positive labor market and entrepreneurship impacts. * Lower socio-emotional ability, poorer youth at the onset of the program, upgraded skills more extensively, but channeled benefits into more consumption. * The findings from this research suggest that the sensitive years for skill investments may reach into early adulthood. Abstract This paper examines the impact of a "cash plus" intervention on youth entrepreneurship and skills formation during the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone, using evidence from a randomized control trial. The intervention combined a regular stream of modest cash injections with training in either technical skills, business skills, or a combination of these two types of training. The results suggest that such interventions can build resilience to aggregate shocks by increasing employment and entrepreneurship, building cognitive and non-cognitive skills, and protecting household consumption and investments. However, results are heterogeneous. Youth with higher initial noncognitive skills experienced positive labor market and entrepreneurship impacts, while weaker noncognitive ability, poorer youth upgraded skills more extensively, but channeled benefits into more consumption. The findings confirm the age-malleability of noncognitive skills and suggest that, in low-ability contexts, the sensitive years for skill investments may reach into early adulthood. They also highlight dynamic policy trade-offs in productivity gains and poverty reduction and indicate the relevance of noncognitive measures for targeting. Author Affiliation: (a) World Bank, United States (b) Inter-American Development Bank, United States * Corresponding author. Article History: Accepted 10 September 2021 (footnote)[white star] A previous version of this paper was distributed as "They got mad skills: the effects of training on youth employability and resilience to the Ebola shock", World Bank Working Paper 8036. We thank Statistics Sierra Leone, which conducted the data collection and ensured data quality. Special thanks go to the staff of HELP-SL, the National Youth Commission, and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development's Integrated Project Administration Unit for their efforts and collaboration, which made this study possible. We are grateful to Shwetlena Sabarwal for her invaluable contributions to the evaluation design and analysis, Andrea Martin for supporting the communications campaign, public lottery process, and electronic data collection, and Mariana Pinzon-Caicedo for her important contributions during the analysis phase of the project. Markus Goldstein, David McKenzie, Patrick Premand, Shubha Chakravarty, and Thomas Bossuroy (World Bank), Rodolfo Stucchi and Joaquin Lennon (Inter-American Development Bank) provided comments that improved the quality of the study. We are also grateful to Suleiman Namara and John Van Dyck, the Task Team Leaders of the Youth Employment Support Project, for their support throughout this task. We appreciate Robert Zimmermann for editorial improvements to this paper. Funding for this study was provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development through the Women's Leadership in Small and Medium Enterprises Program. Byline: Nina Rosas [nrosas@worldbank.org] (a), Maria Cecilia Acevedo [mariaace@iadb.org] (b,*), Samantha Zaldivar [szaldivar@worldbank.org] (a)

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A679876609