We identify the effects of employment on political participation by collaborating with 27 large companies in Ethiopia to randomly assign jobs to equally qualified female applicants. The job offers increase formal employment and earnings, but we can clearly reject any positive effects on political participation. We find no effects on political interest, raising issues, or protest activity, and we find negative effects on participation in community meetings. We further find that job offers reduce internal and external political efficacy, suggesting that employment may actually be politically disempowering. Our qualitative data suggest that several features of the jobs may contribute to lower political efficacy directly.

Andreas Kotsadam


Janneke Pieters

Wageningen University