Effect of Microfinance on Vulnerability, Poverty and Risk in Low Income Households
Uncertainty and unpredictability faced by low-income households increase their vulnerability making poverty even more unbearable. India’s National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD)-initiated Self-Help Group (SHG) program, which is currently the largest and fastest growing microfinance program in the developing world, has been aggressively promoted as a way of combating poverty. This paper investigates whether or not SHG participation results in reducing poverty and vulnerability. A theoretical framework is developed to examine the mechanisms through which the pecuniary and non-pecuniary effects of the SHG program on the beneficiaries’ earnings and empowerment, influence their households’ ability to manage risk. Going beyond the traditional poverty estimates, we use a vulnerability measure which quantifies the welfare loss associated with poverty as well as different types of risks like aggregate and idiosyncratic risks. Applying this measure to an Indian panel survey data for 2000 and 2003, we find that SHG members have lower vulnerability as compared to a group of non-SHG (control) members. Furthermore, we find that the poverty contributes to about 80 percent of the vulnerability faced by the household followed by aggregate risk.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- 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.
- A. Sandmo, 1970. "The Effect of Uncertainty on Saving Decisions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 37(3), pages 353-360.
- Robert M. Townsend, 1995. "Consumption Insurance: An Evaluation of Risk-Bearing Systems in Low-Income Economies," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 83-102, Summer.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:amu:wpaper:0208. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Thomas Meal)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.