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Household Access to Microcredit and Children's Food Security in Rural Malawi: A Gender Perspective

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Author Info

  • Hazarika, Gautam

    ()
    (University of Texas at Brownsville)

  • Guha-Khasnobis, Basudeb

    ()
    (UNU-WIDER)

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    Abstract

    Using data from the 1995 Malawi Financial Markets and Food Security Survey, this study seeks to discover if women's relative control over household resources or intra-household bargaining power in rural Malawi, gauged by their access to microcredit, plays a role in children's food security, measured by anthropometric nutritional Z-scores. Access to microcredit is assessed in a novel way as self-reported credit limits at microcredit organizations. Since credit limits, that is, the maximum sums that might be borrowed, hinge upon supply-side factors such as the availability of credit programs and the financial resources of lenders, it is plausible they are more exogenous than demand driven loan uptake or participation in microcredit organizations, the common ways of gauging access to microcredit. It is indicated that whereas the access to microcredit of adult female household members improves 0–6 year old girls', though not boys', long-term nutrition as measured by height-for-age, the access to microcredit of male members has no such salutary effect on either girls' or boys' nutritional status. This may be interpreted as evidence of a positive relation between women's relative control over household resources and young girls' food security. That women's access to microcredit improves young girls' long-term nutrition may be explained in part by the subsidiary finding that it raises household expenditure on food.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3793.

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    Length: 18 pages
    Date of creation: Oct 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3793

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    Related research

    Keywords: intra-household distribution; bargaining; microcredit; gender; Malawi;

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    References

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    1. Mark M. Pitt & Shahidur R. Khandker & Omar Haider Chowdhury & Daniel L. Millimet, 1998. "Credit Programs for the Poor and the Nutritional Status of Children in Rural Bangladesh," Working Papers 98-4, Brown University, Department of Economics, revised 16 Jan 1998.
    2. Basu, Kaushik & Foster, James E., 1998. "On measuring literacy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1997, The World Bank.
    3. Hoddinott, John & Haddad, Lawrence, 1995. "Does Female Income Share Influence Household Expenditures? Evidence from Cote d'Ivoire," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 57(1), pages 77-96, February.
    4. Mark M. Pitt & Shahidur R. Khandker, 1998. "The Impact of Group-Based Credit Programs on Poor Households in Bangladesh: Does the Gender of Participants Matter?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 958-996, October.
    5. Lundberg, S.J. & Pollak, R.A. & Wales, T.J., 1994. "Do Husbands and Wives Pool Their Resources? Evidence from U.K. Child Benefit," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 94-6, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
    6. Thomas, D., 1989. "Intra-Household Resource Allocation: An Inferential Approach," Papers 586, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
    7. Diagne, Aliou, 1998. "Impact of access to credit on income and food security in Malawi," FCND discussion papers 46, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    8. Diagne, Aliou & Zeller, Manfred, 2001. "Access to credit and its impact on welfare in Malawi:," Research reports 116, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    9. Shelly J. Lundberg & Robert A. Pollak & Terence J. Wales, 1997. "Do Husbands and Wives Pool Their Resources? Evidence from the United Kingdom Child Benefit," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(3), pages 463-480.
    10. Handa, Sudhanshu, 1996. "Expenditure behavior and children's welfare: An analysis of female headed households in Jamaica," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 165-187, June.
    11. Levin, Carol E. & Ruel, Marie T. & Morris, Saul S. & Maxwell, Daniel G. & Armar-Klemesu, Margaret & Ahiadeke, Clement, 1999. "Working Women in an Urban Setting: Traders, Vendors and Food Security in Accra," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(11), pages 1977-1991, November.
    12. Mark M. Pitt & Shahidur R. Khandker & Omar Haider Chowdhury & Daniel L. Millimet, 2003. "Credit Programs for the Poor And the Health Status of Children in Rural Bangladesh," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(1), pages 87-118, February.
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    Cited by:
    1. Swamy, Vighneswara, 2014. "Financial Inclusion, Gender Dimension, and Economic Impact on Poor Households," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 1-15.

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