Bringing Work Home: Internet-Mediated Gig Work and Women's Employment

Female labor force participation in rural India has declined since the early 2000s, likely due to a combination of norms and job mismatch–in particular, lack of access to part-time work and work outside of agriculture.  Recent declines in the cost of smartphones and mobile data are starting to make internet-mediated gig work realistic in rural areas. The characteristics of this work–the ability to work from home, at flexible hours, and without interaction with non-household members–all suggest it may be particularly well suited to facilitate employment for rural women who would otherwise be excluded. The proposed RCT addresses two sets of questions: (1) How valuable are job attributes common to internet-mediated gig work in overcoming barriers to women’s labor force participation?, and (2) What are the impacts of this at-home, part-time work on the household? To address these questions, we will first elicit reservation wages and willingness-to-pay for job attributes which are hypothesized barriers to women’s employment. Second, we will offer a month-long, part-time, work-from-home opportunity in digital crowd work and estimate its effects on household members. In addition, we will survey nearby households to measure spillover effects due to frictions from learning and social norms.

RFP Cycle:
  • Pilot project