Jobs and Political Participation: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Ethiopia

Lovise Aalen, Andreas Kotsadam, Janneke Pieters, Espen Villanger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)656-671
JournalJournal of Politics
Issue number2
Early online date29 Jan 2024
Publication statusPublished - 2024


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