NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Namrata Kala

MIT Sloan School of Management
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Cambridge, MA 02142
Tel: 203/500-4675

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NBER Program Affiliations: DEV
NBER Affiliation: Faculty Research Fellow

NBER Working Papers and Publications

February 2018The Skills to Pay the Bills: Returns to On-the-job Soft Skills Training
with Achyuta Adhvaryu, Anant Nyshadham: w24313
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.
The Light and the Heat: Productivity Co-benefits of Energy-saving Technology
with Achyuta Adhvaryu, Anant Nyshadham: w24314
Measurement of the full costs and benefits of energy-saving technologies is often difficult, confounding adoption decisions. We study consequences of the adoption of energy-efficient LED lighting in garment factories around Bangalore, India. We combine daily production line-level data with weather data and estimate a negative, nonlinear productivity-temperature gradient. We find that LED lighting, which emits less heat than conventional bulbs, decreases the temperature on factory floors, and thus raises productivity, particularly on hot days. Using the firm’s costing data, we estimate the pay-back period for LED adoption is nearly one-sixth the length after accounting for productivity co-benefits.
 
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