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Choosing to be Trained: Evidence from a Field Experiment


  • Utteeyo Dasgupta
  • Lata Gangadharan
  • Pushkar Maitra
  • Subha Mani
  • Samyukta Subramanian


This paper combines unique experimental and survey data to examine the determinants of self-selection into a training program. Women residing in selected disadvantaged areas in New Delhi, India were invited to apply for a six-month long subsidized training program in stitching and tailoring. A random subset of applicants and non-applicants to the training program were invited to participate in an artefactual field experiment and in a detailed socio-economic survey. We find that applicants and non-applicants differ both in terms of socio-economic characteristics (elicited through survey data), and behavioral traits (elicited using a field experiment). Identifying these characteristics can help policy-makers design and promote programs so as to make them more appealing to the target group, and thus improve take-up rates. Our results also suggest that as a methodology, there is valuable information to be gained by dissecting the black box of unobservables using behavioral data from experiments.

Suggested Citation

  • Utteeyo Dasgupta & Lata Gangadharan & Pushkar Maitra & Subha Mani & Samyukta Subramanian, 2012. "Choosing to be Trained: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Monash Economics Working Papers 43-12, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mos:moswps:2012-43

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    Cited by:

    1. Jain, Tarun & Maitra, Pushkar & Mani, Subha, 2016. "Barriers to Skill Acquisition: Evidence from English Training in India," IZA Discussion Papers 10199, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item


    Selection; Field Experiment; Household Survey; Risk; Competition;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access


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