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Eliciting women’s willingness to take a job. Evidence from displaced and extremely poor women in Cali, Colombia


  • Susana Martínez-Restrepo


  • Juan C. Mejía


  • Erika Enríquez



This paper presents a laboratory experiment about labor market preferences for formal and informal jobs among women living in extreme poverty and displaced by violence in Cali, Colombia. In this experiment we elicit the choices that these women make regarding a constant daily income from working at home in small and low-productivity businesses (such as cooking or sewing) against increasing their daily income by working outside the home as an employee. Their income choice is subject to the number of hours away from home, the price of transportation and cost of care or supervision for children and/or adolescents, and between formal and informal jobs. A total of 255 women participated in the laboratory experiment. To elicit intra-household bargaining on labor choices, the Treatment group was composed of married women with their husbands present in the experiment, and the control group of married women without their husbands present at the site. Couples were invited to negotiate when given the different scenarios. Results indicate no significant differences among the treatment and control group for informal jobs. Women with their husbands present were less likely to accept a job for the lower wage options in the formal sector, and more likely to stay at home than their counterparts without their husbands present. Labor preferences also vary according to the cost of childcare and the number of children under the age of 18.

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  • Susana Martínez-Restrepo & Juan C. Mejía & Erika Enríquez, 2016. "Eliciting women’s willingness to take a job. Evidence from displaced and extremely poor women in Cali, Colombia," WORKING PAPERS SERIES. DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO 014404, FEDESARROLLO.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000123:014404

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Susana Martínez-Restrepo & Laura Ramos-Jaimes & Alma Espino & Martin Valdivia & Johanna Yancari Cueva, 2017. "Measuring women’s economic empowerment: Critical lessons from South America," INFORMES DE INVESTIGACIÓN 015825, FEDESARROLLO.

    More about this item


    Mujeres Desplazadas y en Extrema Pobreza; Preferencias en el Mercado de Trabajo; Negociaciones al Interior del Hogar; Voluntad de Aceptar un Empleo; Cali; Colombia;

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • J46 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Informal Labor Market

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