The aggregate labor market effects of the Swedish knowledge lift program

Author: James Albrecht, And Gerard J. van den Berg, And Susan Vroman, And

Summary of

Working paper


The Swedish adult education program known as the Knowledge Lift (1997–2002) was unprecedented in its size and scope, aiming to raise the skill level of large numbers of low-skill workers. This paper evaluates the potential effects of this program on aggregate labor market outcomes. This is done by calibrating an equilibrium search model with heterogeneous worker skills using pre-program data and then forecasting the program impacts. Our calibrations suggest that the equilibrium treatment effects were positive – wages are predicted to increase, as are the employment rates of the treated. The equilibrium effects magnify the partial effects by a factor 1.5 to 2. This is due to the increase in demand for skills that is triggered by the increase in its supply.

Keywords: job search, policy evaluation, wages, unemployment, Swedish labor market, calibration, adult education, equilibrium effects.