Social Networks, Gender Norms and Women's Labor Supply: Experimental Evidence Using a Job Search Platform

64 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2022

See all articles by Farzana Afridi

Farzana Afridi

Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi - Indian Statistical Institute

Amrita Dhillon

King’s College London

Sanchari Roy

King’s College London

Nikita Sangwan

Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi - Indian Statistical Institute

Abstract

Using a cluster randomized control trial, we study the role of women's social networks in improving female labor force participation. In the first treatment arm, a hyper-local digital job search platform service was offered to a randomly selected group of married couples (non-network treatment) in low-income neighborhoods of Delhi, India. In the second treatment arm, the service was offered to married couples and the wife's social network (network treatment), to disentangle the network effect. Neither couples nor their networks were offered the service in the control group. Approximately one year after the intervention, we find no increase in the wife's likelihood of working in either treatment group relative to the control group. Instead, there is a significant improvement in their husbands' labor market outcomes, including the likelihood of working, work hours, and monthly earnings, while in contrast home-based self-employment increased among wives – both in the network treatment group. We argue that our findings can be explained by the gendered structure of social networks in our setting, which reinforces (conservative) social norms about women's (outside) work.

Keywords: social networks, social norms, gender, job-matching platforms, employment

JEL Classification: J16, J21, J24, O33

Suggested Citation

Afridi, Farzana and Dhillon, Amrita and Roy, Sanchari and Sangwan, Nikita, Social Networks, Gender Norms and Women's Labor Supply: Experimental Evidence Using a Job Search Platform. IZA Discussion Paper No. 15767, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4294392 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4294392

Farzana Afridi (Contact Author)

Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi - Indian Statistical Institute

New Delhi
New Delhi, 110016
India

Amrita Dhillon

King’s College London ( email )

Sanchari Roy

King’s College London ( email )

Strand
London, England WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

Nikita Sangwan

Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi - Indian Statistical Institute

New Delhi
New Delhi, 110016
India

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