Understanding the Costs of Hiring Women in Pakistan

Last registered on July 25, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

Understanding the Costs of Hiring Women in Pakistan
Initial registration date
December 29, 2022

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
January 03, 2023, 5:20 PM EST

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

Last updated
July 25, 2023, 8:20 AM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.



Primary Investigator

University of Wisconsin Madison

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Lahore School of Economics

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Pakistan continues to experience low female labor force participation, despite its government’s efforts and improvement in the past decades. While there has been much advancement in understanding the issue, the literature has focused on investigating women’s constraints in obtaining out-of-home employment. This paper, in contrast, asks: what deters firms from hiring women? We hypothesize that there are economic and non-economic integration costs in employing women. For instance, physical investment in a company facility to accommodate women is considered economic costs, and reputation costs of norm incompliance due to hiring women as non-economic ones. This paper contributes to the literature on FLFP by examining the rarely investigated relationship between social norms and hiring decisions. By understanding the extent to which social constraints to female hires bind, policymakers can better design policies and programs to promote women’s economic empowerment in Pakistan.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Shibuya, Sakina and Zunia Tirmazee. 2023. "Understanding the Costs of Hiring Women in Pakistan." AEA RCT Registry. July 25. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.9222-1.1
Experimental Details


To reveal firms' preference to hire women and their top managers' willingness to comply with the social norm of strict physical separation of the sexes. We use a hypothetical choice method and a behavioral game with the Becker-Degroot-Marschak (BDM) mechanism.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
We have three primary outcomes: 1) firms’ decision to hire women, 2) firms’ experience in hiring women, 3) top managers' willingness to comply with social norms for themselves, and 4) top managers' willingness to comply with social norms for their workers.

The first outcome, firms’ decision to hire women, comes from the hypothetical choice method. It is the reported probability for hiring women to fill the ten sawing positions at the hypothetical Company A.

The second outcome, firms’ experience in hiring women, comes from the survey. We construct the following variables to capture this outcome:
1. If a firm has hired women in the past at all by occupation types
2. Share of current female employees by occupation types

The third outcome, top managers' willingness to comply with social norms for themselves, comes from the marble sorting game. This is the lowest willing rate for the helper reported by each top manager. The greater the lowest willing rate is, the more willing he is to comply with the social norm of physical segregation of the sexes.

The fourth outcome, top managers' willingness to comply with social norms for their workers, comes from hypothetical questions after the marble sorting game. We ask top managers to report willingness to comply with social norms for their workers under different scenarios which vary by a) the level of visibility of workers' behaviors while working with the male and female helpers, and b) who requires the workers to work with the helpers (top manager or research team). This measure is meant to understand if top managers have different standards and concerns for social norm compliance for their workers who come from very different socio-economic backgrounds.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Hypothetical Choice Method:
We use the hypothetical-choice method to reveal firms’ preference to hire women. The basic concept of this method is the following. All respondents are shown a profile of a hypothetical company, A. Throughout this section, they are asked to think of themselves as the top manager of this hypothetical firm. As the top manager of Company A, they are tasked to fill ten sawing positions. They are then shown various scenarios in which some of the five economic costs associated with
hiring women are paid for by a special lottery and do not have to be paid for by Company A. Under each of these cost environments, they are asked to report the probability of filling the ten sawing positions with women as opposed to men.

Marble Sorting Game:
We conduct a marble sorting game with the Becker-Degroot-Marschak (BDM) mechanism (Becker et al., 1964) to elicit top managers’ willingness to comply with social norms that idealize strict physical separation of the sexes.
In this game, a top manager is asked to sort marbles for a short period of time for a monetary prize. The prize is determined by the quantity he sorts in the given time multiplied by a fixed rate. He is also offered a helper who can help him sort more marbles, thus increasing his prize earnings. Randomly chosen, 90 % of the sample is offered a female helper. If the female helper joins him to play the game, the quantity sorted by her times a different fixed rate will be given to him. In sum, his prize earnings, if he plays with the female helper, is the sum of the contributions by him and the female helper.
He is then asked to report the lowest rate at which he is willing to play this game with the female helper through the BDM mechanism. This is the rate that may be used to convert the female helper’s contribution into a monetary prize. However, whether the top manager plays with the female helper and the rate used to convert her sorted quantity to a monetary prize is determined by a randomly drawn rate. This rate is drawn after the top manager reveals his lowest willing rate. If the randomly drawn rate is greater than or equal to his willing rate, he plays the game with the female helper and uses the randomly drawn rate for her. If it is less than his willing rate, he plays alone. This random drawing is the key aspect of the BDM mechanism; it induces truth-telling because the top manager has no control over if he gets to play the game with the female helper.

The rest is offered a male helper, which produces a comparison group that enables us to learn about the roles of potential attributes, other than the helper’s gender, that may affect the norm compliance price point.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in officer by a computer
Randomization Unit
Individual firm
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
Marble sorting games:
540 respondents receive female helpers, and 60 respondents receive make helpers
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
The sample size of 600 firms allows us to detect a change of 11.46 percentage points at the power of 0.8.
Supporting Documents and Materials


Document Name
IRB Exemption Letter
Document Type
Document Description
IRB Exemption Letter

MD5: 1a26d107f1fc610d649611066f4ce5ec

SHA1: 1395e737e2831e918d90011e96d371edfd97316f

Uploaded At: December 22, 2022


Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of Wisconsin-Madison
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

Analysis Plan Documents


MD5: 4d85245e7d7a1d13ffb89fe21f34c71c

SHA1: 0e8ce6baf55d8d7e836ddcf1344601a6efdd8b1b

Uploaded At: July 25, 2023


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