Many female, rural, temporary migrants in India move to the city as they face financial distress at home. These women tend to send a large part of their wages to their families (on average, 58% among the population studied). Some of them transfer money through over-the-counter agent services (89%) or use ATM services (5%), with a few sending cash through someone they know. While these workers are aware of the existence of digital payment platforms and may see their value add, some trust, fear of loss, and cognitive barriers prevail. Additionally, they face institutional and technological barriers. The research focuses on removing these barriers. Our population of interest for this study is female migrant workers in the ready-made garment industry in Karnataka, India, who also live at employer-subsidized hostels.
Can the use of digital payment applications (for example, the BHIM app or USSD) for remittances improve financial agency and reduce financial strain faced by migrant employees? If we provide training opportunities for practice, do workers start using these digital payments to send money home? How does this affect their other financial behaviours and productivity at work?
Our partner organization in the project is IDinsight, a global advisory and research organization that helps development leaders maximize their social impact. Along with IDinsight and in collaboration with Shahi Exports, India’s biggest apparel export house, we designed a multiple-outcome randomized controlled trial, an experimental and rigorous method of impact evaluation. It studies the effect of training intervention sessions in digital payment applications on remittances and financial behavior, as well as on workplace outcomes. We randomize the implementation of these training sessions in 19 hostels attached to the factories. Half of the hostels’ rooms are allocated to treatment, while the other half are in the control arm. The study focuses on behavioral interventions, which could overcome both trust and cognitive barriers. The nudges and behavioral interventions that emerged as an outcome of our design thinking research are:
Image credits: Nayantara Parikh
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