Beyond COVID-19: How the manufacturing industry should prepare

Nudging for Digital Remmitances Among Migrants

FOCUS AREA

Unlocking Female Labor

LOCATION

Bangalore, Karnataka

REACH

19 migrant hostels, 1400 women

PARTNERS

University of Michigan, Shahi Exports, IDinsight

STAGE

DESIGN

EVALUATE

ANALYZE

DISSEMINATE

SCALE-UP

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.

Challenge

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?

Design

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:

  1. Training sessions: participants will learn how to use digital payment applications and practice sending and receiving money.
  2. SMS reminders: an SMS will be sent on a monthly basis to participants, just after they receive their paychecks, to remind them that they could use digital payment methods to send money home. These interventions are aimed at achieving three goals:
  3. Build knowledge of how to use digital payment apps
  4. Develop trust in the apps
  5. Develop habits of using digital payment apps, to shift workers away from their current, sub-optimal practises of sending money through over-the-counter transactions.

Image credits: Nayantara Parikh



Ann Arbor
701 Tappan Ave,
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, United States
Bengaluru Corporate Office
Bellandur Gate, Sarjapur Main Road
Bengaluru, Karnataka 560102,
India
Delhi NCR Corporate Office
F-88, Okhla Industrial Area Phase-1
New Delhi, Delhi 110023,
India
Medellin
University EAFIT
Medellin, Colombia