Employee training and firm performance: evidence from ESF grant applications

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6 Citations (Scopus)


As work changes, firm-provided training may be particularly relevant. However, there is little causal evidence about the effects of training on firms. This paper studies a large training grants programme supported by the European Social Fund, contrasting firms in Portugal that received the grants and others that also applied but were unsuccessful. Combining several rich data sets, we compare a large number of potential outcomes of these firms, while following them over several years both before and after the grant decision. Our difference-in-differences models estimate significant positive effects on take up (training hours and expenditure), with limited deadweight; and that such additional training led to increased sales, value added, employment, productivity, and exports. These effects tend to be of at least 5% and, in some cases, 10% or more, and are robust in multiple dimensions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102056
JournalLabour Economics
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • Productivity
  • Programme evaluation
  • Training subsidies


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