Apprenticing America: The Effects of Tax Credits for Registered Apprenticeship Programs
Hisnancik, John J
Despite generally declining wages for workers without a college degree, apprenticeship offers a proven path to improved labor market outcomes. However, use of registered apprenticeship programs in the United States remains far lower than in other nations with developed economies. As the federal and state governments have considered options to increase the use of apprenticeship, a frequently considered proposal has been to provide a tax credit to employers who operate apprenticeship programs. Examining data on the share of apprentices in the labor forces of states without and without apprenticeship tax credits between fiscal year 2011 and fiscal year 2017 using ordinary least squares regressions, this study finds that the existence of an apprenticeship tax credit is associated with a statistically significant increase in the share of apprentices in a state’s labor force of between 28.72 percent and 37.60 percent. Apprenticeship tax credits therefore appear to be an effective policy option to expand use of a program with proven benefits for workers without a bachelor’s degree that could help reduce income inequality. However, apprenticeship tax credits do not appear to significantly affect a state’s real GDP per capita growth rate in the short run, indicating that states seeking an immediate economic stimulus should pursue other policies instead of or in addition to implementing an apprenticeship tax credit.
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