Women’s Mobility, Employment and Empowerment: An RCT of Transport to Work in Lahore, Pakistan (fieldwork in progress)
Women’s mobility outside the home in Pakistan is restricted both by social norms and security concerns. In particular, social norms against women coming into close contact with unrelated men, and the discomfort, social stigma and threat of harassment when they do so, restricts women’s use of public transport. This restricts women’s choices to participate in the labor force, continue their education, and engage in other independent activities. Public transport interventions targeted for women have been extremely successful in many contexts, such as the Delhi metro. Similar approaches have been tried on a very limited scale in Pakistan. Yet their impact on women’s mobility, labor force participation and empowerment has not been rigorously evaluated. If they are effective at improving outcomes for women, there may be a strong case for public subsidy of these programs going forward. This project uses a randomized controlled trial of transport to work in Lahore, Pakistan to test rigorously whether a simple intervention can give women expanded choices. The methodology will allow us to quantify the benefit of a reduction in cost, an improvement in safety and social acceptability, and the two combined, on women’s mobility, labor force participation, other activities outside the home, and empowerment. The results of this research will inform policy on how transport services can best be designed, adapted and expanded to improve women’s mobility and empowerment.
with Kate Vyborny

Collaborating Organization: Center for Economic Research in Pakistan (CERP)
Funding Organizations: DfID-IZA; IGC; Gates-J-PAL; PEDL; NSF, 3ie and ADB

Publications: Working Paper; Policy Brief; Blog Post

Institutional Reform and De Facto Women’s Rights (fieldwork in progress)
One important constraint on women’s de facto legal rights in Pakistan is the fact that government officials who carry out basic legal functions such as marriage registration and the processing of inheritance of property often follow their own judgment, are misinformed on details of law, or respond to the pressures of other interested parties rather than complying strictly with the law. In the proposed pilot project, we will work in close collaboration with the Punjab Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) on the initial stages of rigorous impact evaluation of two major initiatives designed to address these challenges and ensure women’s de facto rights in two key areas: their legal share of inheritance, and key rights in marriage. To do so, we will evaluate (1) an initiative to impose new procedural requirements and incentives for government officials involved in property transfer, and (2) the first ever initiative to train all marriage registrars in the province of Punjab. If the study identifies an effect of either or both reforms on legal practices, it will prepare the ground for a future full-scale study of the impacts on women and their families through a household survey sampled directly from the administrative data.
with Kate Vyborny

Collaborating Organizations: Punjab Commission on the Status of Women; Punjab Local Government Department
Funding Organizations: Oxford Policy Management (pending)

Institutional Capacity as an Organizational Challenge: A Field Experiment in Pakistan (fieldwork in progress)
This novel field experiment involves a large donor organization and over 800 recipient community organizations across Pakistan in testing (1) whether community organizations can be incentivized to improve their performance through (a) systematic self-assessment and reporting of defined Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and (b) a transparent non financial rewards scheme based on these KPIs; (2) how each part of a large, complex organization (the donor) responds to new information on performance (of recipient organizations) on KPIs; (3) how the responses of both donor and recipients to new information and incentives relate to organizational characteristics of theoretical importance, including divergence of preferences between members of the organization; communication costs between parts of the organization; and decentralization of decision making authority.
with Kate Vyborny

This proposal will build on an existing initial stage of the research, funded by the International Growth Center and the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund itself.

Collaborating Organization: Lahore School of Economics
Funding Organizations: National Science Foundation