Evaluation of Manpower Programs: Control Groups Versus Before-After Comparisons

Adrian Ziderman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The literature on the economic evaluation of manpower programs is virtually unanimous in preferring the use of the control group design for measuring the program effects on participants, to that of the alternative “before-after” comparison. This paper attempts to redress the balance of argument, more in favour of the “before-after” approach. The efficacy of the control group experiment in many instances is marred by the biassing effects of the self-selection of the experimental group. On the other hand, it is argued that the use of computer simulation techniques can transfer the before-after comparison from a somewhat naive method into a technical tool at least as powerful as the control group. An illustration of the approach is provided relating to an evaluative study of Skillcentres in Britain, using a Markov chain simulation model in lieu of a control group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-27
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Industrial Relations
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1976


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