NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Skills to Pay the Bills: Returns to On-the-job Soft Skills Training

Achyuta Adhvaryu, Namrata Kala, Anant Nyshadham

NBER Working Paper No. 24313
Issued in February 2018
NBER Program(s):Development Economics, Labor Studies, Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

We evaluate the causal impacts of on-the-job soft skills training on the productivity, wages, and retention of female garment workers in India. The program increased women’s extraversion and communication, and spurred technical skill upgrading. Treated workers were 20 percent more productive than controls post-program. Wages rise very modestly with treatment (by 0.5 percent), with no differential turnover, suggesting that although soft skills raise workers’ marginal products, labor market frictions are large enough to create a substantial wedge between productivity and wages. Consistent with this, the net return to the firm was large: 258 percent eight months after program completion.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24313

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