Timothy Taylor, managing editor of the JEP, points to some recent literature on the effect of trade adjustment assistance. In Contemporary Economic Policy, Kara M. Reynolds and John S. Palatucci find that
using propensity score matching techniques we ﬁnd that while the required training component of the program improves the employment outcomes of beneﬁciaries, on average the TAA program has no discernible impact on the employment outcomes of the participants…
We do ﬁnd strong evidence, however, suggesting that those workers who participate in TAA-funded training opportunities are more likely to obtain reemployment, and at higher wages, when compared to TAA beneﬁciaries who do not participate in training.
That’s in line with prior research suggesting that the only realized benefits accrue to trainees. But note that due to some data limitations:
It is possible that these results are being driven by differences between the training and nontraining participant samples that we are unable to control for. Recall that although TAA beneﬁciaries must participate in training in order to receive extended unemployment beneﬁts, nearly 20% of TAA participants receive a waiver from the training requirement. Program administrators are allowed to grant waivers for a wide variety of reasons, including the health, age, and skill level of the worker. Waivers are also granted to workers who can prove that training is unavailable in their area. Although we control for such characteristics as the age and education level of the participant, we do not have information on other characteristics such as the health status or the local labor market conditions of the participant. It is likely that workers in poor health would be both more likely to receive a waiver and more likely to remain unemployed. Moreover, workers in small rural areas may be limited in both the number of training and the number of new employment opportunities.