The research paper presents a study that combines field experiments in Bangladesh with a structural labour model to introduce paternalistic discrimination. This discrimination involves the differential treatment of two groups to protect one, even against its will, from harmful or unpleasant situations. The main findings are derived from two field experiments conducted in Bangladesh to measure paternalistic discrimination against women. The observations are based on real hiring and application decisions for a night-shift job, with a focus on the impact of paternalistic discrimination on the labour market. The study framework incorporates other-regarding employers, who value their workers’ welfare.
A hiring experiment with 495 employers and individuals with hiring experience in the previous three years in Dhaka was conducted. It included detailed information about the job, survey questions related to the experiment, experimental interfaces used, stages of the hiring experiment, and the elicitation of employers’ beliefs and predictions.
If the employers are not informed about the safe transport provided for workers, they discriminate paternalistically. This reduces the demand for female labour and has a larger effect on hiring decisions. On the other hand, the supply of female labour reduces when applicants are not informed about the transport. The research also estimates the model parameters and finds that eliminating paternalistic discrimination reduces the gender employment gap.
The paper points to the influence of paternalistic discrimination on reducing job costs or increasing benefits for workers. Additionally, it suggests that women with little experience suffer the most from paternalistic discrimination, which may hinder early-career employment opportunities. Overall, the findings suggest that addressing paternalistic discrimination could lead to increased female labour force participation and improved labour market outcomes.