The Intergenerational Transmission of Norms: Why Do Women in Saudi Arabia Choose Not to Work?

This project is intended to study Saudi female job seekers’ preferences and attitudes towards employment decisions. Ultimately, the aim is to study the internal household dynamics that shape the mentality of Saudi women and consequently affect their labor market decisions, and to design and evaluate interventions to help improve their labor market outcomes. The project will be executed in several phases, first starting with this proposal development stage where researchers intend to interview and survey college seniors at Princess Nourah University (PNU) in Saudi Arabia. This pilot survey is designed to learn about young women’s family backgrounds, their relationships with their superiors, and their employment choices. It will also give insights on how effective job placement centers like Glowork can be for women in conservative societies. This question will be explored through a randomized evaluation at a later stage by using an incentivized choice experiment that will tease out these young women’s true preferences and attitudes towards employment. This will potentially answer questions about the intergenerational transmission of norms and how the upbringing of young women affects their attitudes and behaviors towards employment. After observing their attitudes, they will be linked to Glowork as researchers collect data on their final job market decisions. Randomizing the women that eventually get linked with Glowork will provide an opportunity to evaluate the program and how successful it is in informing women about available job vacancies and finding opportunities that best match their qualifications. Based on the results of the pilot survey and once there is a better understanding of these women’s household dynamics, researchers will explore the possibility of implementing additional support for young women through Glowork and to then evaluate these additional interventions through a randomized evaluation.

RFP Cycle:
Saudi Arabia
  • Monira AlRakhis
  • Vittorio Bassi
  • Project development grant