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Meta-analysis of the impact of microcredit on women's control over household decisions: methodological issues and substantive findings


  • Maren Duvendack
  • Richard Palmer-Jones
  • Jos Vaessen


Systematic reviews and meta-analysis have risen in popularity in international development to provide evidence on 'what works'. This paper reports the findings of a meta-analysis to assess the impact of microcredit on women's control over household spending to illustrate the challenges of conducting meta-analysis in the case of a diverse evidence base. We provide an assessment of methodological quality and present the findings of a meta-analysis. The results suggest that the effect sizes are small. Furthermore, the confidence that we can place in these findings is limited by the high level of heterogeneity within and between studies and the general reliance on non-experimental studies and statistical analyses which are not reported in sufficient detail to enable confident judgement as to their robustness.

Suggested Citation

  • Maren Duvendack & Richard Palmer-Jones & Jos Vaessen, 2014. "Meta-analysis of the impact of microcredit on women's control over household decisions: methodological issues and substantive findings," Journal of Development Effectiveness, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(2), pages 73-96, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevef:v:6:y:2014:i:2:p:73-96
    DOI: 10.1080/19439342.2014.903289

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ngo, Thi Minh-Phuong & Wahhaj, Zaki, 2012. "Microfinance and gender empowerment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 1-12.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:wly:econjl:v:127:y:2017:i:605:p:f236-f265 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Rachael Meager, 2015. "Understanding the Impact of Microcredit Expansions: A Bayesian Hierarchical Analysis of 7 Randomised Experiments," Papers 1506.06669,, revised Jul 2016.
    3. repec:wly:econjl:v::y:2017:i:605:p:f236-f265 is not listed on IDEAS

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