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DOES MICROFINANCE EMPOWER WOMEN? Evidence from Self Help Groups in India

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  • Bali Swain, Ranjula

    ()
    (Department of Economics)

  • Wallentin, Fan Yang

    ()
    (Department of Information Science, Statistics)

Abstract

Microfinance programs like the Self Help Bank Linkage Program in India have been increasingly promoted for their positive economic impact and the belief that they empower women. However, only a few studies rigorously examine the link between microfinance and women’s empowerment. This paper contributes by arguing that women empowerment takes place when women challenge the existing social norms and culture, to effectively improve their well being. It empirically validates this hypothesis by using quasi-experimental household sample data collected for five states in India for 2000 and 2003. A general structural model is estimated by employing appropriate techniques to treat the ordinal variables in order to estimate the impact of the Self Help Group (SHG) on women empowerment for 2000 and 2003. The results strongly demonstrate that on average, there is a significant increase in the women empowerment of the SHG members group. No such significant change is observed however, for the members of the control group. The elegance of the result lies in the fact that the group of SHG participants show clear evidence of a significant and higher empowerment, while allowing for the possibility that some members might have been more empowered than others.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Uppsala University, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 2007:24.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 24 Aug 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:uunewp:2007_024

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Postal: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P. O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
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Keywords: Microfinance; Women empowerment; Ordinal variables; General structural model and Robust maximum likelihood estimation.;

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  1. Ashraf, Nava & Karlan, Dean & Yin, Wesley, 2010. "Female Empowerment: Impact of a Commitment Savings Product in the Philippines," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 333-344, March.
  2. M. Browning & P. A. Chiappori, 1998. "Efficient Intra-Household Allocations: A General Characterization and Empirical Tests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(6), pages 1241-1278, November.
  3. Beatriz Armendariz & Jonathan Morduch, 2007. "The Economics of Microfinance," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262512017, December.
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Cited by:
  1. repec:msm:wpaper:2014/20 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Garikipati, Supriya, 2008. "The Impact of Lending to Women on Household Vulnerability and Women's Empowerment: Evidence from India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(12), pages 2620-2642, December.
  3. Felix Meier zu Selhausen & Erik Stam, 2013. "Husbands and Wives. The powers and perils of participation in a microfinance cooperative for female entrepreneurs," Working Papers 13-10, Utrecht School of Economics.
  4. Deininger, Klaus & Liu, Yanyan, 2013. "Economic and Social Impacts of an Innovative Self-Help Group Model in India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 149-163.
  5. Jun Goto, 2013. "The Impacts of Self-Help Group Programs: Experimental and Survey Evidence from South India," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(4), pages 2874-2889.
  6. Subrata Chakrabarty & A. Bass, 2014. "Institutionalizing Ethics in Institutional Voids: Building Positive Ethical Strength to Serve Women Microfinance Borrowers in Negative Contexts," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 119(4), pages 529-542, February.
  7. Deininger, Klaus & Liu, Yanyan, 2009. "Longer-term economic impacts of self-help groups in india," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4886, The World Bank.
  8. B, Ranjula & Wallentin, Fan Yang, 2008. "Economic or Non-Economic Factors – What Empowers Women?," Working Paper Series 2008:11, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  9. Maldonado, Jorge H. & González-Vega, Claudio, 2008. "Impact of Microfinance on Schooling: Evidence from Poor Rural Households in Bolivia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(11), pages 2440-2455, November.
  10. Ranjula Bali Swain & Maria S. Floro, 2010. "Reducing Vulnerability through Microfinance: Assessing the Impact of Self-Help Groups in India," Working Papers 2010-19, American University, Department of Economics.

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