Economic and Social Impacts of Self-Help Groups in India
We use a combination of pipeline comparison, propensity score matching, and double differences to evaluate economic and social impacts of a large community driven development program in India. While we find positive empowerment and nutritional effects for households in program areas, allowing heterogeneity of program impact yields additional insights. First, social and economic empowerment increased equally for participants and non-participants in program areas, pointing towards positive externalities. Second, nutritional benefits were more pronounced for new participants than for members of pre-existing self-help groups who joined the program. Third, evidence of higher consumption -but not income or asset formation- by new and converted participants suggests that at the point of the survey, the program's main economic impact had been through consumption smoothing and diversification of income sources.
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