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Does cooperative membership matter for women’s empowerment? Evidence from South Indian dairy producers


  • Carla Dohmwirth
  • Ziming Liu


Rural women substantially contribute to agricultural production and development in South Asia, and farmer cooperatives have been promoted to empower them. However, there is limited evidence regarding the effects of cooperative membership on women. In this paper, we evaluate impacts of membership in women-only and mixed-gender cooperatives in South India on women’s intra-household decision-making power, using data of 313 female milk producers. Propensity score matching and a two-step control function approach are employed to account for selection bias due to observed and unobserved factors. We find that membership in either women-only or mixed-gender cooperatives has a positive impact on intra-household decision-making power. In particular, members of mixed-gender cooperatives gain significantly more power over decisions regarding dairy production, compared to members of women-only cooperatives. We conclude that women-only cooperatives are not more effective for women’s empowerment than mixed-gender cooperatives. However, because women have limited access to mixed-gender cooperatives, women-only cooperatives are generally more accessible for the majority of them.

Suggested Citation

  • Carla Dohmwirth & Ziming Liu, 2020. "Does cooperative membership matter for women’s empowerment? Evidence from South Indian dairy producers," Journal of Development Effectiveness, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 133-150, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevef:v:12:y:2020:i:2:p:133-150
    DOI: 10.1080/19439342.2020.1758749

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    Cited by:

    1. Li, Xiaokang & Guo, Hongdong & Jin, Songqing & Ma, Wanglin & Zeng, Yiwu, 2021. "Do farmers gain internet dividends from E-commerce adoption? Evidence from China," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 101(C).
    2. Hongyun Zheng & Puneet Vatsa & Wanglin Ma & Dil Bahadur Rahut, 2023. "Does agricultural cooperative membership influence off‐farm work decisions of farm couples?," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 94(3), pages 831-855, September.
    3. Hongyun Zheng & Yuwen Zhou & Dil Bahadur Rahut, 2023. "Smartphone use, off‐farm employment, and women's decision‐making power: Evidence from rural China," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(3), pages 1327-1353, August.
    4. M. Alejandra INOSTROZA & Paula Miranda Sà NCHEZ, 2023. "Hindering and facilitating factors of women’s participation in cooperativism: An approach from a comparative bibliometric study of the last 15 years," CIRIEC Working Papers 2305, CIRIEC - Université de Liège.
    5. Lumet, Kenedy & Gitau, Raphael & Owuor, George, 2022. "The influence of women’s empowerment on poverty reduction: A case of smallholder sugarcane farmers in western Kenya," African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, African Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 17(3), September.
    6. Ravichandran, Thanammal & Farnworth, Cathy Rozel & Galiè, Alessandra, 2021. "Empowering women in dairy cooperatives in Bihar and Telangana, India: a gender and caste analysis," 2021 Annual Meeting, August 1-3, Austin, Texas 338772, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    7. Wanglin Ma & Hongyun Zheng & Peng Yuan, 2022. "Impacts of cooperative membership on banana yield and risk exposure: Insights from China," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 73(2), pages 564-579, June.
    8. Yanan Huang & Xu Li & Guangsheng Zhang, 2021. "The Impact of Technology Perception and Government Support on E-Commerce Sales Behavior of Farmer Cooperatives: Evidence From Liaoning Province, China," SAGE Open, , vol. 11(2), pages 21582440211, June.
    9. Wanglin Ma & Sanghyun Hong & W. Robert Reed & Jianhua Duan & Phong Luu, 2023. "Yield effects of agricultural cooperative membership in developing countries: A meta‐analysis," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 94(3), pages 761-780, September.
    10. Wanglin Ma & Hongyun Zheng & Yueji Zhu & Jianling Qi, 2022. "Effects of cooperative membership on financial performance of banana farmers in China: A heterogeneous analysis," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 93(1), pages 5-27, March.
    11. Nawab Khan & Ram L. Ray & Hazem S. Kassem & Farhat Ullah Khan & Muhammad Ihtisham & Shemei Zhang, 2022. "Does the Adoption of Mobile Internet Technology Promote Wheat Productivity? Evidence from Rural Farmers," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(13), pages 1-15, June.

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