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Study Overview

Hawassa Industrial Park Community Impact Evaluation
Study is 3ie funded:
Study ID:
Initial Registration Date:
Last Update Date:
Study Status:
In Development

The Government of Ethiopia has embarked on an ambitious industrialization strategy based on the creation of special economic zones as centers of export-oriented light manufacturing. The flagship industrial park of this strategy is located in the city of Hawassa, in southern Ethiopia. The Hawassa Industrial Park (HIP) is one of ten industrial parks that are currently being planned and built all over Ethiopia. At full capacity, the park in Hawassa, a city of 300,000, will provide employment to 60,000 workers, most of whom will be women between age 18-35, from the wider Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s (SNNP) Region. Relatively little is known about the impact of such industrial employment on worker welfare, or on the broader communities that workers come from. This project seeks to study the impact of the expansion of hiring for the Hawassa Industrial Park on the economic, physical, and social well-being of workers, and the broader impact of hiring on the largely rural, agricultural communities from which these workers are recruited.

Registration Citation:

Croke, K., Hardy, M. and Meyer, C., 2018. Hawassa Industrial Park Community Impact Evaluation. Registry for International Development for Impact Evaluations (RIDIE). Available at: 10.23846/ridie153

Private Sector Development
Additional Keywords:
special economic zones, migration, labor, Ethiopia
Secondary ID Number(s):

Principal Investigator(s)

Name of First PI:
Kevin Croke
World Bank and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Name of Second PI:
Morgan Hardy, Christian Meyer
New York University - Abu Dhabi, European Union Institute

Study Sponsor

Study Sponsor Location:
United Kingdom

Research Partner

Name of Partner Institution:
Enterprise Partners
Type of Organization:
NGO (local) or other civil society organization

Intervention Overview


The main intervention is the recruitment and hiring of workers by firms in the Hawassa Industrial Park. Hiring is largely conducted under the framework of the HIPSTER project, which implements the training, grading, and sourcing of workers on behalf of the HIP firms. In effect there are two interventions: The first intervention is the extension of worker recruitment activities, such as the sourcing and grading system (which is the main mechanism of worker intake for the park) or alternative recruiting activities such as job fairs, to a given community; the second intervention, for a subset of those who complete the sourcing/ grading or job fair process, is the offer of employment at a firm in the park. In subsequent experiments, we also plan to study secondary interventions targeted at workers while they are employed. The HIPSTER team is currently implementing soft skills training for all hired workers, and is also considering implementing programs focused on savings, health, gender, and transport.

Theory of Change:

At the macro level, the basic theory of change is that inducing external investment in light manufacturing will increase productivity, by adding to the local stock of capital per worker, will generate jobs, because light manufacturing is labor intensive and does not require high levels of skill, and will facilitate technology transfer to local firms. As demand for this kind of labor increases, wages will increase to equilibrate labor markets and workers will benefit. Export-oriented industrialization is particularly beneficial since productivity in export-competing industries converges to international levels more rapidly than in other sectors, and because access to international markets circumvents the problem of limited domestic demand for firms’ output (Rodrik, 2013). At the micro level, a wide range of potential mechanisms could lead to impact of the industrial park on the local economy, the workers employed in the park, and their communities of origin. In this project and the discussion below, we focus on welfare-related outcomes. Examples for wider impacts that are not the focus of this project include technology and productivity spillovers on local and regional industry. On the labor market, the availability of manufacturing employment, even at low wages, may be attractive to unemployed or underemployed workers. There may be a wage premium in the formal sector, which may lead to higher investment in human capital and schooling. With respect to gender, having women employed in industry in young adulthood may delay marriage, reduce fertility, and increase women’s autonomy and empowerment. Work in the park may affect the health of workers. Beyond “hard” economic outcomes, work in the industrial park may also affect subjective well-being, aspirations, and happiness.

Multiple Treatment Arms Evaluated?

Implementing Agency

Name of Organization:
Enterprise Partners
Type of Organization:
NGO (International)

Program Funder

Name of Organization:
Type of Organization:
Public Sector, e.g. Government Agency or Ministry

Intervention Timing

Intervention or Program Started at time of Registration?
Start Date:
End Date:
Evaluation Method

Evaluation Method Overview

Primary (or First) Evaluation Method:
Randomized control trial
Other (not Listed) Method:
Additional Evaluation Method (If Any):
Other (not Listed) Method:

Method Details

Details of Evaluation Approach:

It is critical to understand the impact of Hawassa Industrial Park jobs on workers, as well as the families and communities of these workers. This study would examine the impact of the HIP recruitment process at the community level. We propose a community level (cluster) randomization as part of the proposed expansion of recruitment to zones where to project not currently recruiting. Given increasing labor demand from HIP firms, the Southern Nations and Nationalities Region Bureau of Trade and Industry and Enterprise Partners plan to expand sourcing workers from zones where no recruitment is currently taking place. The IE team has worked with the SSNPR Bureau of Trade and Industry and Enterprise Partners to identify woredas and kebeles which are in these zones, but which will not be reached by this expanded recruitment. Within these zones, additional recruitment activities will be conducted on a randomized subset of communities, generating exogenous community-level variation in exposure to job offers.

Outcomes (Endpoints):

Potential outcomes of interest can be grouped into individual- and household-level outcomes measured using traditional survey methods, community-level outcomes measured using key informant interviews and market surveys, and community-level outcomes. For the village-of-origin household of workers, we would like to administer survey instruments to capture various dimensions of living standards, including self-reported education, health, labor and employment, earnings, housing, assets, consumption expenditures, savings, non-farm enterprises, agricultural activities, finance, food security, social protection, shocks, mental health, and subjective well-being. We also plan to capture (seasonal and permanent) migration behavior of all household members, intra-household resource allocation, female empowerment, and intrahousehold conflicts. At the community level, we would like to use key informant interviews and market surveys to capture basic village profiles including access to infrastructure and communal organization, wages in agricultural and non-agricultural employment (if any) and prices of tradable and non-tradable goods.

Unit of Analysis:

We aim to answer the following two primary research questions: What is the impact of getting a job in the Hawassa Industrial Park – on welfare of job seekers? – on welfare of job seekers’ origin households and communities? In addition, after developing partnerships and building data collection infrastructure to execute this RCT, we will be in position to answer the following secondary research question, either as an add-on to the current design or via a follow up study: -How can benefits of factory work be maximized and potential costs be minimized via secondary interventions for workers after they have started work in the park? e.g. using interventions currently in planning stages by implementing parters to address social protection and gender issues for workers, and target key constraints related to access to housing, finance, and transportation.

Unit of Intervention or Assignment:
community (kebele)
Number of Clusters in Sample:
The number of clusters will be finalized after program take-up estimates are generated from intervention piloting.
Number of Individuals in Sample:
The number of individuals will be finalized after program take-up estimates are generated from intervention piloting.
Size of Treatment, Control, or Comparison Subsamples:
The number of observations in treatment and control or comparison subsamples will be finalized after program take-up estimates are generated from intervention piloting.

Supplementary Files

Analysis Plan:
Other Documents:

Outcomes Data

The main data set will consist of baseline, midline, and endline household and community surveys combined with administrative data on workers compiled by HIP firms.
Data Already Collected?
Data Previously Used?
Data Access:
Data Obtained by the Study Researchers?
Data Approval Process:
Approval Status:

Treatment Assignment Data

Participation or Assignment Information:
Data Obtained by the Study Researchers?
Data Previously Used?
Data Access:
Data Obtained by the Study Researchers?
Data Approval Process:
Approval Status:

Data Analysis

Data Analysis Status:

Study Materials

Upload Study Materials:

Registration Category

Registration Category:
Prospective, Category 1: Data for measuring impacts have not been collected

Completion Overview

Intervention Completion Date:
Data Collection Completion Date:
Unit of Analysis:
Clusters in Final Sample:
Total Observations in Final Sample:
Size of Treatment, Control, or Comparison Subsamples:


Preliminary Report:
Preliminary Report URL:
Summary of Findings:
Paper Summary:
Paper Citation:

Data Availability

Data Availability (Primary Data):
Date of Data Availability:
Data URL or Contact:
Access procedure:

Other Materials

Survey Instrument Links or Contact:
Program Files:
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Description of Changes:

Study Stopped