The Skills to Pay the Bills: Returns to On-the-Job Soft Skills Training

40 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2018 Last revised: 7 Jun 2021

See all articles by Achyuta Adhvaryu

Achyuta Adhvaryu

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Namrata Kala

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Economics, Finance, Accounting (EFA)

Anant Nyshadham

Boston College - Department of Economics

Date Written: February 2018

Abstract

We evaluate the causal impacts of on-the-job soft skills training on the productivity, wages, and retention of female garment workers in India. The program increased women’s extraversion and communication, and spurred technical skill upgrading. Treated workers were 20 percent more productive than controls post-program. Wages rise very modestly with treatment (by 0.5 percent), with no differential turnover, suggesting that although soft skills raise workers’ marginal products, labor market frictions are large enough to create a substantial wedge between productivity and wages. Consistent with this, the net return to the firm was large: 258 percent eight months after program completion.

Suggested Citation

Adhvaryu, Achyuta and Kala, Namrata and Nyshadham, Anant, The Skills to Pay the Bills: Returns to On-the-Job Soft Skills Training (February 2018). NBER Working Paper No. w24313, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3192754

Achyuta Adhvaryu (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

500 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

Namrata Kala

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Economics, Finance, Accounting (EFA) ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

Anant Nyshadham

Boston College - Department of Economics ( email )

140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
United States

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