CREB - Center for Research in Economics and Business

Overcoming Constraints to Female Labor Force Entry

Project members:
Farah Said, Lahore School of Economics
Hamna Ahmed, Lahore School of Economics
Zunia Saif Tirmazee, Lahore School of Economics

The pilot of the study has been funded by the Private Enterprise Development in Low-Income Countries (PEDL) Exploratory grant, 2017. While the full scale up is funded by the joint IZA/DFID Growth and Labour Markets in Low Income Countries Programme (GLM|LIC). This study is a randomised controlled trial to test the impact of two low-cost interventions to overcome psychological and information constraints to female labor force participation (FLFP). The research questions that this project aims to address are, (i) does motivating female students and (ii) does providing information about the job market, promote female labor force entry. The project focusses on female students, in their final year undergraduate degree, and enrolled in women only Public colleges in urban Lahore, the second largest metropolitan city in Pakistan, comprising of approximately 11 million people. While socioeconomic background, information on available jobs and job skills are significant determinants of entry into the labor market (Humphrey et al 2009; Jenson, 2012); studies have shown only modest impacts of job search assistance and skills training on employment and wages (McKenzie 2017). Further, skills training programmes in particular often suffer from low enrolment (Cheema et al., 2012, 2015) and high cost (Adhoho et al., 2014); suggesting it is time to think of new interventions that can complement traditional skills training programmes to promote employment. One possibility for these results may be presence of psychological barriers and low motivation as binding constraints to FLFP which this project aims to address.