Jalota Ho Abstract

In settings where social norms impose severe constraints on married women, their labor force participation—particularly for jobs outside the home—is markedly low. Flexible and remote digital job opportunities have the potential to shift this trend. We implemented a randomized field experiment in Mumbai's slum resettlement communities with 3,000 households, randomly assigning them to a job offer for either Work-from-Home (WfH) or Work-from-Center (WfC), and cross-randomizing to three wage levels. We find that women are twice as likely to take up a WfH job offer as compared to a job offer at a (women-only, child-friendly) local center (58% vs 27% take-up rates, respectively), and the actual burden of housework and childcare cannot explain most of the difference. Subsequent field experiments and analyses are consistent with the role of norms of domesticity, wherein wives are expected to stay home, as a key factor in explaining this gap. Remarkably, even when wages are increased up to five times for WfC jobs, women still overwhelmingly prefer WfH jobs; higher wages do not counteract the strong norms of domesticity, thereby not increasing job take-up.