We provide incentivized evidence (both from an experimental sample in Riyadh and from a national sample) that the vast majority of married men in Saudi Arabia privately support female labor force participation (FLFP) outside of home, while they substantially underestimate the level for support for FLFP by other men – even men from their same social setting, such as their neighbors. We then show that randomly correcting these beliefs about others increases married men’s willingness to let their wives join the labor force (as measured by their costly signup for a mobile job-matching application for their wives). Finally, we find that this decision maps into real outcomes: four months after the main intervention, the wives of men in our original sample whose beliefs about acceptability of FLFP were corrected are more likely to have applied and interviewed for a job outside of home.
Leonardo Bursztyn’s research explores numerous fields of inquiry, including behavioral economics, political economy, and development economics. He uses field experiments to understand how individuals make schooling, consumption, and financial decisions, and, in particular, how these decisions are shaped by individuals’ social environments.
His research has been published or is forthcoming in such leading academic journals as Econometrica, the American Economic Review, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the Journal of Political Economy, and the Review of Economic Studies. He is the recipient of a 2016 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship. Bursztyn received a PhD in economics from Harvard University. Prior to joining the University of Chicago, he was an assistant professor of economics at UCLA Anderson School of Management, where he received the Eric and “E” Juline Faculty Excellence in Research Award. He is also a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research and an affiliate of the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD), and the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab.