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Self-Help Groups and Mutual Assistance: Evidence from Urban Kenya

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  • Marcel Fafchamps
  • Eliana La Ferrara

Abstract

This article examines the incomes of individuals who have joined self-help groups in poor neighborhoods of Nairobi. Self-help groups are often advocated as a way of facilitating income pooling. We find that incomes are indeed more correlated among individuals in the same group than among individuals who belong to different groups. Using an original methodology, we test whether this correlation is due to self-selection of similar individuals into the same groups. We find that this correlation is not driven by positive assortative matching. If anything, selection works in the opposite direction: incomes from group activities would be more correlated if individuals were matched at random. These findings are consistent with the idea that self-help groups play a mutual assistance role.

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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/10.1086/665600
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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/665600
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Economic Development and Cultural Change.

Volume (Year): 60 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 707 - 733

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:ecdecc:doi:10.1086/665600

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  1. La Ferrara, Eliana & Alesina, Alberto, 2000. "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," Scholarly Articles 4551796, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. La Ferrara, Eliana, 2002. "Inequality and group participation: theory and evidence from rural Tanzania," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 235-273, August.
  3. Dasgupta, Partha, 1995. "An Inquiry into Well-Being and Destitution," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288350.
  4. Stefan Dercon & Joachim De Weerdt, 2002. "Risk-sharing Networks and Insurance against illness," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2002-16, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  5. Stefan Dercon & Tessa Bold & Joachim De Weerdt & Alula Pankhurst, 2004. "Group-based Funeral Insurance in Ethiopia and Tanzania," CSAE Working Paper Series 2004-27, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  6. Marcel Fafchamps & Susan Lund, 2000. "Risk-Sharing Networks in Rural Philippines," Economics Series Working Papers 10, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  7. Gubert, Flore & Fafchamps, Marcel, 2007. "The Formation of Risk Sharing Networks," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/4392, Paris Dauphine University.
  8. Dean S. Karlan, 2005. "Social Connections and Group Banking," Working Papers 913, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  9. Abigail Barr & Marleen Dekker & Marcel Fafchamps, 2008. "Risk Sharing Relations and Enforcement Mechanisms," CSAE Working Paper Series 2008-14, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  10. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 1999. "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," NBER Working Papers 7155, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Siwan Anderson, 2000. "The Economics of Roscas and Intra-Household Resource Allocation," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1323, Econometric Society.
  12. Arcand, Jean-Louis & Fafchamps, Marcel, 2012. "Matching in community-based organizations," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 203-219.
  13. Topa, Giorgio, 1997. "Social Interactions, Local Spillovers and Unemployment," Working Papers 97-17, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  14. Miguel, Edward & Gugerty, Mary Kay, 2005. "Ethnic diversity, social sanctions, and public goods in Kenya," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2325-2368, December.
  15. Conley, T. G., 1999. "GMM estimation with cross sectional dependence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 1-45, September.
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