Women on Wheels

Women on Wheels: A Field Experiment to Improve Women's Mobility in Pakistan

Principal Investigator: Sarah Thompson

Despite high rates of familial poverty in Pakistan, the country has low rates of women's labor force participation compared to countries with similar GDPs. Similarly, women's political participation from turnout in national elections to attendance at neighborhood council meetings remains low. This project uses an experiment to alleviate a key constraint to women's participation in activities outside of the home: access to safe and reliable transportation. In partnership with a microfinance organization, local NGOs, and a motorcycle training institute in Karachi, the study randomizes women's access (training and loans) to motorcycles, the most commonly used way by which men arrive to work in this context. With survey data, weekly SMS data collection, and monthly odometer checks, it will assess how this shock women's mobility can affect LFP and agency. Given the study's setting in Pakistan's largest city, the results of this study will have broader implications for rapidly urbanizing areas across South Asia and other developing countries.

This study is generously supported by IGC Pakistan and J-PAL's Gender and Economic Agency Initiative. It launched in August 2022, and is underway as of Fall 2023.