Matching digital service export jobs in Kenya

Project Active since Firms, Firm performance and SGB Evidence Fund

Many wealthier countries face long-term labour shortages while many poorer countries face high levels of unemployment. In collaboration with a large Kenyan recruitment agency, this project is conducting an impact evaluation focused on digital service exports, which consist of workers in poorer countries working remotely for firms in wealthier countries. Digital service exports offer a possible route to higher output, higher productivity, and higher-quality employment.

The aim of the project is to examine how optimized hiring strategies can increase both productivity and profitability in the sector, while also causally identifying the benefits of digital service export jobs to workers employment, earnings, skill development, and job ladders. The project employs a randomized control trial to randomise which applicants are included on shortlists sent to digital export firms, generating random variation in the probability of hiring. It also uses the random variation in types of workers hired to build a predictive model of worker productivity, incorporating detailed baseline skill assessments.