In a number of countries, youth unemployment is a pressing concern. In India, 54% of the country’s population is below the age of 25 and faces a high rate of (disguised) unemployment. To augment youth employment, the Government of India has launched a number of skills training programs. This paper deals with participation in and the impact of one of these programs [Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushal Yojana (DDUGKY)] located in rural Bihar, one of India’s poorest states. The analysis is based on data collected in mid-2016 and compares trained participants with non-participants who applied for the scheme but eventually did not attend. We find that the training program squarely reaches the intended target group—rural poor youth. Initially, the program leads to a 29 percentage point increase in the employment rate of the trained graduates. However, 2–6 months after the training, the employment effect of the program drops to zero. A third of the placed graduates leave their jobs due to caste-based discrimination, and another third leave due to a mismatch between the salaries offered and their living costs. The upshot is that while the training program enhances job market prospects, other labor market factors undo the positive effects.

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Keywords Bihar, India, Skills training, Youth unemployment
JEL Mobility, Unemployment, and Vacancies: General (jel J60), Public Policy (jel J68)
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Journal The Indian Journal of Labour Economics
Chakravorty, B, & Bedi, A.S. (2019). Skills Training and Employment Outcomes in Rural Bihar. The Indian Journal of Labour Economics. doi:10.1007/s41027-019-00167-8