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Impacts of Skilling and Employment Opportunities on Female Rural-to-Urban Migrant Workers and their Families: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Labor-intensive manufacturing is growing rapidly in developing countries. Yet significant wage gaps exist both across geographic and gender boundaries: the urban-rural wage gap is as high as 45% in some areas of India. Industries that specifically carry disproportionate amounts of female employees, such as garment production, could provide a way to enhance successful migration and provide important job skills, and thus begin to narrow gender and wage gaps in labor participation. This project will analyze and address methods to alleviate the barriers to successful rural-to-urban migration for women.

Partnered with one of the world’s largest garment manufacturers in India, researchers will run a randomized controlled trial that aims to facilitate Indian women’s rural-urban migration and assess impacts on the wellbeing of workers and their families. Ten vocational training centers will be established at randomized locations across the Indian states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, covering women living in more than 1,200 villages. The centers will provide vocational skills and a guaranteed employment match in urban Bangalore following training. Extensive panel data will be collected on women from nearly 3,000 households, and impacts on women’s experiences of increased bargaining power, well-being, and annual income will be assessed.

Achyuta Adhvaryu, U-M Ross School of Business
Anant Nyshadham, Boston College Department of Economics
Huayu Xu, U-M Department of Economics