Discussion Papers

No.742 Does Motivation Matter in Vocational Training? Evidence from a Natural Experiment

by Momoe Makino and Abu S. Shonchoy

March 2019


Vocational training has been implemented in many developing countries, on the belief that lack of skills is the bottleneck to getting the poor out of poverty. However, follow-on surveys show that the effect of these programs has been mediocre: employment and income have not improved much after participation in these programs. Given this discouraging reality, scholars have started to investigate why these programs have been ineffective and how they can be improved. Here, we focus on motivation as a key factor. Exploiting the natural experimental setting provided by the Uttoron project implemented in Bangladesh, we examine how participation in a motivational session affects the impact of the vocational training program that follows. Survey results show that trainees who receive the motivational session are more likely to be employed and have higher earnings three months after completing the program. This finding underscores the importance of participant motivation to the success of development projects.

Keywords:Motivation, Vocational training, Natural experiment, Poverty, Bangladesh

JEL classification: D91, J24, J28, O53

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