Can Financial Incentives to Firms Improve Apprentice Training? Experimental Evidence from Ghana

Journal Article
Published on 1 June 2023

This article is forthcoming at the American Economic Review: Insight.


We use a field experiment to test whether financial incentives can improve the quality of apprenticeship training. Trainers (firm owners) in the treatment group participated in a tournament incentive scheme where they received a payment based on their apprentices’ rank-order performance on a skills assessment. Trainers in the control group received a fixed payment based on their apprentices’ participation in the assessment. Performance on the assessment was higher in the treatment group. Two years later, treated apprentices scored 0.15σ higher on a low-stakes oral skills test and earned 24% more in total earnings, driven by higher self-employment profits.


Gabriel Brown

University of British Columbia

Morgan Hardy

New York University, Abu Dhabi

Isaac Mbiti

University of Virginia

Jamie McCasland

University of British Columbia

Isabelle Salcher

New York University