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Heckman, J.J., and Jeffrey A. Smith. 2004. "The Determinants of Participation in a Social Program: Evidence From a Prototypical Job Training Program." Journal of Labor Economics, 22:243-298.
This article decomposes the participation process of a prototypical program into eligibility, awareness, application, acceptance, and enrollment. With this decomposition, we determine the sources of unequal participation for different groups and demonstrate that variables often have very different effects at different stages in the participation process. Our analysis shows that personal choices substantially affect participation and that awareness of program eligibility is a major source of variation in participation.