Job Networks and Gender in Malawi

In developing countries, women are commonly underrepresented in the formal sector. One potential explanation is that a large proportion of these jobs are secured through informal channels, including employee referrals, which may disadvantage women. We examined how informal job referral systems affect labor market participation for women in Malawi using a randomized evaluation and found that informal referral schemes systematically disadvantaged qualified women.

Do Job Networks Disadvantage Women? Evidence from a Recruitment Experiment in Malawi

We use a field experiment to show that referral-based hiring has the potential to disadvantage qualified women, highlighting another potential channel behind gender disparities in the labor market. Through a recruitment drive for a firm in Malawi, we …