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Ex Ante and Ex Post Impact Evaluations

With respect to ex ante impact evaluations of planned economic development projects, input/output analyses are a class of economic models which have proven helpful to regional analysts in specifying the relationships between those industries producing final goods for consumers, and the industrial producers of intermediate goods as inputs into the production processes for other businesses. The Regional Input-Output Modeling System (RIMS II) of the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis is a noteworthy example of a regional input/output model. The case studies included in the user handbook regarding applications of the RIMS II for the construction and operation of a sports facility, the closing and converting of a military base, the operation of a new factory, the departure of the motor vehicle industry from a local area, and the economic impacts of the arrival of a new glass-containers manufacturing industry into a region all demonstrate the importance of the regional multiplier effects between final product and intermediate product industries in local economies. (See Regional Multipliers A User Handbook for the Regional Input-Output Modeling Systems (RIMS II), Third Edition, March, 1997, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the new RIMS II User’s Guide). For a recent example of the application of input/output employment multipliers, please see the Schaff Economic Environmental Scan for Licking County, Ohio, in the Applied Research section of EDEPS.

Workforce development analysts may develop both ex ante and ex post impact evaluations with tools at their disposal for little cost. The ex ante impact evaluations rely upon the input/output models such as RIMS II to anticipate the regional impacts of economic development projects that may involve skill training. The ex post impact evaluations involve the use of wage records from employers and comparison groups to gain an accurate understanding of the magnitude of the net increases in wages of participants resulting from the skill training and other workforce development services. Many wage record impact evaluations utilize training program “completers” as the treatment group, with training program “leavers” as the comparison group. For an example of this type of ex post evaluation model, please see the Monthly Labor Review article entitled, “Using wage records in workforce investments in Ohio” by Messrs. Schaff, Gordon, and Shaw (May, 2004, Monthly Labor Review, pp. 40-43, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.