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Author ORCID Identifier


Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

James Heintz

Second Advisor

Nancy Folbre

Third Advisor

Vamsi Vakulabharanam

Fourth Advisor

John Spraggon

Subject Categories

Econometrics | Labor Economics | Political Economy


My dissertation combines quantitative, qualitative, and experimental methods to examine research questions about demand- and supply-side labor market constraints that contribute to gender and socioeconomic inequalities in Pakistan, specifically focusing on issues such as unequal marriage rules and employment discrimination.

The first essay is a review essay focused on gender, labor markets, and paid employment in Pakistan. The purpose of this essay is twofold. One, it provides an overview of the gendered dynamics of labor markets in Pakistan through the lens of existing literature on gender and labor markets in Pakistan. Two, it offers a descriptive analysis of men's and women’s labor market outcomes in Pakistan, extending the current debates on Pakistani women’s access to paid work.

In the second essay, I combine both quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate the effect of cousin marriage on Pakistani women’s likelihood of being in paid work. Using a nationally representative sample data of 15,060 ever-married Pakistani women ages 15-49, collected under Pakistani Demographic Health Survey Data 2017-18 under logistic regression analysis and propensity score matching method, I show that cousin marriages may pose some constraints for Pakistani women’s access to paid work in terms of restrictions on mobility. However, the overall effect of cousin marriage on women’s paid work appears modest. My qualitative surveys suggest that cousin marriages impose some costs on women such as a heavier burden of unpaid care work but may also offer some social advantages, such as informal childcare arrangements and reduced divorce rates, which may offset some of the constraints associated with it.

The third essay investigates discrimination in the market for skilled labor in Pakistan, with a focus on gender and neighborhood of residence, which is indicative of high/low socioeconomic status. I use a correspondence testing methodology in which I post fictitious resumes of equally qualified candidates, who look similar on the resumes but differ in terms of gender and social class status, on Pakistan’s largest online job site. Results from reviewing responses to 2032 resumes sent for 508 actual job openings (full-time contracts) in Karachi’s information technology industry show that despite the gender neutrality claims in advertisements, male candidates get 29 percent higher callbacks for job interviews than female candidates. I find strong evidence for neighborhood penalty: candidates from high-income neighborhoods get 45 percent higher callbacks than candidates from low-income neighborhoods. The penalty remains significant after controlling for each candidate’s proximity to the advertised job location—an improvement in the method not widely used previously in similar audit studies— and other variables such as salary offers, industry, and firm size.

This dissertation carries substantial implications for Pakistani women’s participation in paid work. The dissertation finds that, on the supply side, cousin marriages impose constraints, such as a heavy burden of unpaid domestic care work, on women’s ability to engage in paid work. On the demand side, employers ‘discriminatory hiring practices not only obstruct women’s engagement in paid work but restrict women’s employment in traditionally underpaid, “feminine” occupations.


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Available for download on Friday, September 01, 2023