Together to Work? Role of Travel Buddies on Women's Employment and Mobiltiy

Last registered on April 16, 2024


Trial Information

General Information

Together to Work? Role of Travel Buddies on Women's Employment and Mobiltiy
Initial registration date
April 08, 2024

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
April 16, 2024, 1:11 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.


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Primary Investigator

University of California, Santa Cruz

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Good Business Lab

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
n low and middle-income countries, there is a pronounced gender gap in labor force
participation. Women often work less, earn less, and face greater job insecurity than men.1
In India, the scenario is particularly stark, with only 25 women participating in the labor
market for every 100 men. While unequal burden of household chores, restrictive social
norms and other factors contribute to this disparity, the impact of limited physical
mobility faced by women is under researched.

The lack of safety in public spaces and regressive social norms disproportionately affect
women’s mobility in many countries. In India, women lack freedom of movement
and face pervasive harassment in public spaces which makes it difficult for them to travel
alone outside their homes. In the pilot baseline surveys we find that: 1) more than 60%
of women reported not leaving their neighborhoods in the last week compared to 20% of
men; 2) 60% of women reported that they did not travel alone outside their neighborhoods
in the last week compared to 15% of men. This project aims to investigate whether these
mobility constraints significantly hinder women’s ability to participate in job interviews,
thereby affecting their employment rate. If a woman needs someone else to go with her to
feel safe or because it’s “expected”, but no one is available, she might not go to the interview
at all. Using a cluster RCT, the project evaluates an intervention that addresses the fact
that women cannot travel alone but can travel with other adult women.

In the “travel buddy” intervention, unemployed women in a randomly assigned group
of neighborhood clusters are invited to attend job interviews via group meetings. Inviting multiple women together from a neighborhood could help reduce the familial pushback towards women’s work, signal about the gendered nature of the jobs, improve women’s con-
fidence and increase the amenity value of the job if women prefer having friends working
with them. To isolate these effects of organizing women in groups, in the second treatment
group, we also randomize interview days while still inviting women in groups.
We randomly assign 75 clusters in Delhi-NCR to the three groups and study the impact
of treatments on women’s probability of participating in the interviews, employment and
mobility. To gather proof of concept, we conducted a pilot RCT during the summer 2022
with 95 women across 10 neighborhood clusters in India. It produced two key findings: 1)
88% of all women who showed up for the interview came with an adult companion; 2) 27%
of women showed up from the travel buddy group compared to 9% from the control group
(200% increase).

The academic contribution of this project is two-fold. First, while multiple studies in-
vestigate women’s low labor force participation rates and physical access constraints
separately, few studies have attempted to quantify the effect of mobility constraints on
women’s labor market outcomes.The study is unique in its focus women’s inability to
travel alone - and its impact on showing up for interviews. Second, the role of peer effects
in low-income settings has been extensively studied in different contexts, such as that of
learning, family planning, and female autonomy. By contrast, our study looks
at the presence of peer effects in commuting and hiring.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Gade, Smit and Rolly Kapoor. 2024. "Together to Work? Role of Travel Buddies on Women's Employment and Mobiltiy." AEA RCT Registry. April 16.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details


1. Control Group: The field team will go door-to-door and conduct individual meetings with
women to hand out invitation letters and explain the hiring procedures. These meetings will be
done after completing baseline surveys.
2. Travel Buddy Group: After enrolling eligible women and completing baseline surveys, the
field team will conduct two group meetings per cluster with 5 women each to invite them for the
interview. Hiring information along with invitation letters will be provided during these meetings.
Women within one meeting group will have the same 2-day window to show up for the interview.
As a result, these meetings will enable women to get to know and coordinate with other women
from their neighborhood that could accompany them to the interview.
3. Peer Effect Group: To isolate the effect of organizing women in groups, women will be invited via group meetings to participate in walk-in interviews but will be assigned to different interview
dates. Each woman within a group meeting will be assigned a unique 2-day window to interview
for jobs at the factory. That is, no two women within a group meeting will be assigned to the same
interview window
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Probability of showing up at the factory for walk-in interviews. To measure
this, an enumerator will be present at the factory on interview days to complete a small survey with
study participants who show up for interviews.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Women’s Employment Outcomes at the factory: Conditional on receiving a job offer from the
partner factory - a) whether a woman accepted the job offer; b) daily attendance at the factory. We
will use administrative data from the factory to measure these outcomes.
Women’s Total Labor Supply: Using endline surveys, we will measure whether women are a)
employed outside of their homes b) engaging in any form of paid work; c) looking for paid work.
Women’s Mobility Outcomes: Using endline surveys, we will measure - a) number, duration
and distance of trips made outside of the neighborhood; b) fraction of trips made alone; c) num-
ber of times couldn’t travel when wanted to; d) fraction of trips women sought permission to travel.
Other secondary outcomes: These include women’s empowerment and agency outcomes, women’s
safety perceptions, and gender attitudes within households.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
This project proposes a neighborhood cluster-level RCT to study whether women’s inability to
travel alone affects their probability of participating in walk-in interviews at the partner apparel fac-
tory. The project will be implemented in partnership with Good Business Lab (GBL) and women
will be invited to participate in walk-in interviews at two factory units in Delhi-NCR of the ap-
parel manufacturing firm - Shahi Exports Pvt. Ltd. We will begin by identifying low-income areas
around the factories with a population suitable for working at an apparel factory1. After identifi-
cation, the field team will visit these areas and create neighborhood clusters for the study sample.
The neighborhood clusters will be stratified by the larger residential areas within which multiple
neighborhood clusters are situated and if the distance of a cluster to the factory is above or below
the median distance between clusters and the factory units. Within each stratum, one-third of the
clusters will be assigned to the three groups - Control Group, Travel Buddy Group, and Peer Effect
Group. 10 “eligible” women from each cluster will be identified and enrolled to participate in the
study. 2 The study sample consists of 75 neighborhood clusters and a total of 750 women.
Eligibility Criteria: Women must satisfy all four conditions - 1) be between the ages of 18-30, 2)
not engage in any full-time employment outside of their homes, 3) be interested in working full-
time at a garment factory, and 4) know how to operate a sewing machine
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Stratified by distance to the factory
Randomization Unit
neighborhood cluster
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
250 women in control, 250 women in travel buddy treatment, 250 women in peer effect treatment
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of California, Santa Cruz
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number