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Linking Women’s Preferences for Workplace Amenities to Worker Productivity

Work & Education Jordan

Credit: Bailey Palmer

Policy Context

If willingness to pay for job amenities is correlated with productivity, then offering jobs with lower wages but more amenities may result in a “separating equilibrium” where firms attract high productivity workers. This is a generally accepted idea in microeconomic theory but there is a dearth of empirical evidence to support the theory. The lack of empirical evidence stems in part from the difficulty in sourcing productivity data required to answer this question.

Working in Jordan, Bailey will work to construct a unique dataset containing workers’ valuations of relevant job amenities along with precise, administrative records of their productivity to determine whether firms may be able to attract high productivity workers by bundling wages with amenities.

Women’s employment in Jordan is an ideal setting to investigate whether providing job amenities might support a separating equilibrium for several contextual and policy reasons. First, Jordan is marked by extremely low female labor force participation even compared to the region. This is particularly puzzling since Jordanian men and women are equally educated, and gender attitudes regarding women in the workplace are not notably different from other Arab countries with significantly higher participation rates. Additionally, out of the 12 countries in the 2021-22 Arab Barometer, Jordanian women were most likely to cite a structural reason (childcare, wages, transportation) instead of cultural reason as the biggest barrier to women’s employment. This suggests that increased provision of job amenities like transport, childcare or other amenities could increase employment.

Study Design

Forthcoming (travel grant).


Results and Policy Lessons



2024 — 2025

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