677/2023 Farzana Afridi, Amrita Dhillon, Sanchari Roy, Nikita Sangwan
This paper studies the role of job search frictions and peer effects in shaping female employment outcomes in developing countries. Motivated by a collective model of household decision-making, we conduct a randomized field experiment in Delhi, India where we randomly offer a hyper-local digital job search and matching service to married couples on their own (non-network treatment), together with the wife's peer network (network treatment), or not at all. Approximately one year later, we find no significant impact on wives' overall likelihood of working in either treatment group, but wives in the non-network treatment group reduce their work intensity and casual work, while those in the network treatment group increase their home-based self-employment. Strikingly, husbands' labor market outcomes also improved significantly in the network treatment group. We show theoretically and empirically that our findings can be explained by the home-bound structure of women’s social networks that reinforce (conservative) social norms about women's outside-of-home work.
Culture, Behaviour and Development