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Self-Help Groups and Mutual Assistance: Evidence from Urban Kenya

  • Marcel Fafchamps
  • Eliana La Ferrara

This article examines the incomes of individuals who have joined self-help groups in poor neighborhoods of Nairobi. Self-help groups are often advocated as a way of facilitating income pooling. We find that incomes are indeed more correlated among individuals in the same group than among individuals who belong to different groups. Using an original methodology, we test whether this correlation is due to self-selection of similar individuals into the same groups. We find that this correlation is not driven by positive assortative matching. If anything, selection works in the opposite direction: incomes from group activities would be more correlated if individuals were matched at random. These findings are consistent with the idea that self-help groups play a mutual assistance role.

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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/10.1086/665600
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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/665600
Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Economic Development and Cultural Change.

Volume (Year): 60 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 707 - 733

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:ecdecc:doi:10.1086/665600
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  1. Marcel Fafchamps & Susan Lund, . "Risk Sharing Networks in Rural Philippines," Working Papers 97014, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  2. Topa, Giorgio, 2001. "Social Interactions, Local Spillovers and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(2), pages 261-95, April.
  3. Abigail Barr & Marleen Dekker & Marcel Fafchamps, 2008. "Risk Sharing Relations and Enforcement Mechanisms," CSAE Working Paper Series 2008-14, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  4. Arcand, Jean-Louis & Fafchamps, Marcel, 2012. "Matching in community-based organizations," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 203-219.
  5. La Ferrara, Eliana & Alesina, Alberto, 2000. "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," Scholarly Articles 4551796, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Miguel, Edward & Gugerty, Mary Kay, 2005. "Ethnic diversity, social sanctions, and public goods in Kenya," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2325-2368, December.
  7. Stefan Dercon & Tessa Bold & Joachim De Weerdt & Alula Pankhurst, 2004. "Group-based Funeral Insurance in Ethiopia and Tanzania," CSAE Working Paper Series 2004-27, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  8. Eliana La Ferrara, 2000. "Inequality and Group Participation: Theory and Evidence from Rural Tanzania," Development Working Papers 138, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  9. Dean S. Karlan, 2005. "Social Connections and Group Banking," Working Papers 181, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  10. Stefan Dercon & Joachim De Weerdt, 2002. "Risk-sharing networks and insurance against illness," CSAE Working Paper Series 2002-16, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  11. Fafchamps, Marcel & Gubert, Flore, 2007. "The formation of risk sharing networks," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 326-350, July.
  12. Siwan Anderson & Jean-Marie Baland, 2002. "The Economics Of Roscas And Intrahousehold Resource Allocation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 963-995, August.
  13. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2000. "Participation In Heterogeneous Communities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 847-904, August.
  14. Conley, T. G., 1999. "GMM estimation with cross sectional dependence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 1-45, September.
  15. Dasgupta, Partha, 1995. "An Inquiry into Well-Being and Destitution," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288350, March.
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