Job Market Paper 

Virtual Windows Through Glass Walls? Digitization for Mobility-Constrained Female Entrepreneurs.
AEA registry: 9177

Abstract: Social norms and childcare responsibilities often constrain women's mobility and work. This paper investigates the promise of digitalization in unlocking the growth of home-based businesses, an economic lifeline for women in developing countries. To do so, Jordanian female entrepreneurs were offered access to virtual storefronts through Facebook business pages, as well as access to an online digital marketing training created in collaboration with local social media influencers. After six months of hands-on support, treated women had higher business survival, weekly revenue, and attracted more online clients. Machine learning heterogeneity analysis reveals that higher business performance and limitations on the owner's ability to leave her house at baseline are particularly predictive of effects. Together, results suggest that when constraints to technology adoption are lifted, digitalization can unlock windows of opportunity to talented female entrepreneurs, especially those mobility-constrained among them.

Working Papers

Evidence on Digital Training for Aspiring Female Entrepreneurs.
AEA registry: 7790

Abstract: I experimentally investigate whether online information alone, without outsourcing or support, can expand women's entry to and success in home-based entrepreneurship. I find that despite its virtual format and focus on working from home, an online business training program in Jordan fails to attract low mobility women at the same rate as high mobility women, and that it has limited effect on business outcomes. Treated participants were also more likely to agree with statements that restrict women's work outside the home, suggesting that information on home-based opportunities without an experienced increase in income might reinforce views that tie women to the domestic sphere.

Market Exposure on Facebook: Evidence from Developed and Developing Countries.
with Mike Bailey, Edward Glaeser, and Michael Luca.

Abstract: Are internet-based nudges more or less effective in the developing world? We analyze a large experiment on Facebook in which business pages were recommended to users expected to like them across more than one hundred countries. We find that exposure  matters everywhere, but effect sizes on page fans and followers are significantly bigger in countries with lower levels of development in the sample.  This difference is driven by users of Android phones rather than iPhones, suggesting that market access support is particularly effective for middle income residents of poorer countries.   We also find large increases in the cumulative number of messaging threads between users and businesses, suggesting that online exposure has downstream effects on match quality and interactions.

Between Trust and Trade: on Informal Credit Networks in India.
with Alp Sungu and Kartik Srivastava. Draft available upon request.
AE registry: 12890.

Abstract: We study store credit, a system of deferred payments offered by small businesses to their customers in large parts of the developing world. We employ an intensive data collection exercise at local shops in an urban Indian settlement and randomly offer thousands of their customers either store credit, a price discount, or a business-as-usual control. We find that store credit offers increase businesses' market access by expanding foot traffic and spending. In parallel, stores extend more credit to consumers even after the intervention concludes. Together, the results highlight the role of small businesses as local lenders and help explain the prevalence of store credit as a common consumption smoothing and market access instrument in developing countries. The findings also highlight scope to further increase access to credit by subsidizing businesses’ experimentation and lowering their default risk from lending.

Work in Progress

Opportunity Across Borders: Evidence on Remote Work for Refugees.
with Emma Smith. Funding secured, implementation ongoing.
Abstract: While talent is abundant among forced migrants, opportunity is not. For more than 100 million forced migrants around the world (UNHCR, 2022), numerous challenges stymie efforts for social and economic integration. In this project, we experimentally investigate whether remote work opportunities can provide financial sustenance for forced migrants, often constrained by legal barriers to work locally. The study will cross-randomize participants’ access to professional mentorship and to training, with the aim of lifting informational, logistical, and behavioral barriers to technology adoption. The project aims to understand if online markets for skills can unlock opportunities for talented individuals among heavily understudied populations of displaced people, with potential implications on their skill investments, earnings, migration decisions, and integration in refugee and host communities.

Religion in the Digital Age.
with Samuel Bazzi, Faiz Essa, and Benjamin Marx. Analysis stage.

Cell Phones and Growth in Kenya.
with Tavneet Suri and Kamal Bhattacharya. Analysis stage.