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The Impact of Lending to Women on Household Vulnerability and Women's Empowerment: Evidence from India

  • Garikipati, Supriya

Summary Impact evaluation studies routinely find that lending to women benefits their households. However, a number of them also find that this may not empower the women concerned. This seemingly paradoxical conclusion is confirmed by our study with respect to a lending program in rural India. We investigate this result by examining a combination of loan-use data and borrower-testimonies. We find that loans procured by women are often diverted into enhancing household's assets and incomes. This combined with woman's lack of co-ownership of family's productive assets, we conclude, results in her disempowerment. If empowering women is a crucial objective, then the patriarchal hold on productive assets must be challenged.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Development.

Volume (Year): 36 (2008)
Issue (Month): 12 (December)
Pages: 2620-2642

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Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:36:y:2008:i:12:p:2620-2642
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/worlddev

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  1. Bali Swain, Ranjula & Wallentin, Fan Yang, 2007. "DOES MICROFINANCE EMPOWER WOMEN? Evidence from Self Help Groups in India," Working Paper Series 2007:24, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  2. Basu, Priya & Srivastava, Pradeep, 2005. "Scaling-up microfinance for India's rural poor," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3646, The World Bank.
  3. Hermes, Niels & Lensink, Robert & Mehrteab, Habteab T., 2005. "Peer Monitoring, Social Ties and Moral Hazard in Group Lending Programs: Evidence from Eritrea," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 149-169, January.
  4. Pitt, Mark M & Khandker, Shahidur R & Cartwright, Jennifer, 2006. "Empowering Women with Micro Finance: Evidence from Bangladesh," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(4), pages 791-831, July.
  5. Hashemi, Syed M. & Schuler, Sidney Ruth & Riley, Ann P., 1996. "Rural credit programs and women's empowerment in Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 635-653, April.
  6. Mark Pin & Shahidur Khandker & Signe-Mary Mckernan & M. Latif, 1999. "Credit programs for the poor and reproductive behavior in low-income countries: Are the reported causal relationships the result of heterogeneity bias?," Demography, Springer, vol. 36(1), pages 1-21, February.
  7. Angus Deaton & Jean Dreze, 2002. "Poverty and Inequality in India: A Re-Examination," Working Papers 184, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  8. Vijay Mahajan & Bharti Gupta Ramola, 1996. "Financial services for the rural poor and women in India: Access and sustainability," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(2), pages 211-224.
  9. Zaman, Hassan, 2004. "The scaling-up of microfinance in Bangladesh : determinants, impact, and lessons," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3398, The World Bank.
  10. 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.
  11. Rahman, Aminur, 1999. "Micro-credit initiatives for equitable and sustainable development: Who pays?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 67-82, January.
  12. Berger, Marguerite, 1989. "Giving women credit: The strengths and limitations of credit as a tool for alleviating poverty," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 17(7), pages 1017-1032, July.
  13. Kabeer, Naila, 2001. "Conflicts Over Credit: Re-Evaluating the Empowerment Potential of Loans to Women in Rural Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 63-84, January.
  14. Goetz, Anne Marie & Gupta, Rina Sen, 1996. "Who takes the credit? Gender, power, and control over loan use in rural credit programs in Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 45-63, January.
  15. Mohanan Sankaran, 2005. "Micro credit in India: an overview," World Review of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 1(1), pages 91-100.
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