Do traditional institutions constrain female entrepreneurship? A field experiment on business training in India

Authors: Field, Erica, Seema Jayachandran, and Rohini Pande
Publication: The American Economic Review 100, no. 2 (2010): 125-129

Abstract:This paper explores how traditional religious and caste institutions in India that impose restrictions on women’s behavior influence their business activity. Our analysis makes use of a field experiment in which a randomly selected sample of poor self-employed women were trained in basic financial literacy and business skills and encouraged to identify concrete financial goals. The sample is relatively homogenous in terms of socio-economic status (e.g., education). However, differences in religion and caste mean that they face very different traditional restrictions on mobility and social interactions. Muslim women face the most restrictions. Among Hindu women, upper castes(hereafter, UC) face significantly more restrictions than scheduled castes (hereafter, SC), the lowest group in the caste hierarchy.

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