The Impacts of Industrial and Entrepreneurial Work on Income and Health: Experimental Evidence from Ethiopia

Journal Article
Published on 1 July 2018

Working paper available through PEDL. Published article available here.


Working with five Ethiopian firms, Blattman and Dercon (2018) randomized applicants to an industrial job offer, an "entrepreneurship" program of $300 plus business training, or control status. Industrial jobs offered more and steadier hours but low wages and risky conditions. The job offer doubled exposure to industrial work but, since most quit within months, had no impact on employment or income after a year. Applicants largely took industrial work to cope with adverse shocks. This exposure, meanwhile, significantly increased health problems. The entrepreneurship program raised earnings 33 percent and provided steadier hours. When barriers to self-employment were relieved, applicants preferred entrepreneurial to industrial labor.


Christopher Blattman

Columbia University

Stefan Dercon

University of Oxford