Evaluating Demand Side Constraints to Female Employment among Firms in Pakistan Through Experimental Provision of a Targeted Wage Subsidy

Last registered on April 20, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Evaluating Demand Side Constraints to Female Employment among Firms in Pakistan Through Experimental Provision of a Targeted Wage Subsidy
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0009226
Initial registration date
April 15, 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
April 20, 2022, 4:42 PM EDT

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

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
University of Exeter

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
World Bank
PI Affiliation
World Bank
PI Affiliation
World Bank

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2022-04-18
End date
2023-07-31
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
Female labor force participation rates throughout South Asia are low, declining, and are likely significantly slowing economic growth in the region. The underlying causes of low female labor force participation are not yet well understood. It is widely believed that restrictive gender norms play a strong role along with other economic forces (Jayachandran, 2019), but the channels through which norms may influence outcomes are not yet well articulated. Our study seeks to understand whether temporary wage subsidies can increase female employment in Pakistani firms, which are heavily dominated by male employees. We aim to look at the impacts of the wage-subsidy on hiring and retention of female employees, attitude changes among employers, and heterogeneity of effects along baseline characteristics. Using the Becker-DeGroot-Marschak mechanism, the experiment will elicit the true subsidy required for an employer to hire a woman. Our proposed research would fill a significant gap in the current experimental and quasi-experimental literature on norms and female employment by focusing on the demand side of the labor market and interventions that may make employers shift attitudes towards employing women.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Bussolo, Maurizio et al. 2022. "Evaluating Demand Side Constraints to Female Employment among Firms in Pakistan Through Experimental Provision of a Targeted Wage Subsidy." AEA RCT Registry. April 20. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.9226
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
6-month wage subsidy targeted to firms that hire women for technical/professional roles.
Intervention Start Date
2022-04-20
Intervention End Date
2022-09-30

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Whether a female candidate is hired, length of employment of female employee hired, change in gender attitudes/norms score of the employer.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
There will be a single treatment arm consisting of a 6-month wage subsidy targeted to firms that hire women for technical/professional roles. The average wage subsidy would amount to approximately 25% of the salary offered. We are planning to use the Becker-DeGroot-Marschak (BDM) mechanism to elicit truthful reporting of the level of subsidy that would be needed and to select the firms that actually win the subsidy. The BDM is a way of asking questions such that the respondent truthfully reveals the price at which they value something. In our study, this refers to their willingness to pay for a female employee. We will ask how much of the employee’s salary needs to be subsidized (i.e. paid by us) for the firm to hire a female employee for the posted vacancy. If the share they require is lower than the number drawn randomly by a computer, we will subsidize the amount equal to the randomly drawn number. However, we will share their salary costs only if the firm actually hires a female candidate (based on their own selection process) for this job. On the other hand, if the share of the salary that they report wanting to be subsidized is more than the number drawn randomly by a computer, they do not have to pay anything, and we do not share employee costs. In this case, they would be free to hire whoever they want.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization to be done by a computer using Stata
Randomization Unit
Firm
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
NA
Sample size: planned number of observations
1000-1500 firms
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
50% randomly assigned to treatment
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of Exeter Business School Research Ethics Committee
IRB Approval Date
2021-03-16
IRB Approval Number
eUEBS004187