IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/csa/wpaper/2010-34.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Microfinance and Gender Empowerment

Author

Listed:
  • Thi Minh-Phuong Ngo
  • Zaki Wahhaj

Abstract

In the past 30 years, microfinance has carried many promises of social and economic transformation, with the shift towards targeting women being seen as a major strategic move through which the promise of social development could be most effectively delivered. However, ethnographic studies have shown that many women relinquish the use of their loans to male members of the household, belying the empowering promise of microfinance. We propose a simple model of household bargaining which examines how providing women with credit affects production and decision-making power in the household. Following Bergstrom (1996), we account for the roles of both divorce and non-cooperation in the household as relevant fall-back options in the bargaining strategy of each spouse. We show that the introduction of a microcredit programme is likely to have widely heterogeneous impacts, and can adversely affect the bargaining power of some women. We demonstrate that access to credit allows a woman to strengthen her bargaining position through an expansion of her autonomous activities (the causal mechanism hoped for) only in a limited number of cases: when she is able to invest her new capital profitably in an autonomous activity, and her husband has no alternative activity in which the same capital would generate comparable returns, or lacks the power to overrule her preferred investment choice. The two cases in which it is most likely that the availability of credit would enable the woman to strengthen her bargaining position within the household are (i) when capital can be invested in a cooperative activity to which both spouses contribute in an important way, and (ii) when a large share of the household budget is devoted to expenditures on household public goods.

Suggested Citation

  • Thi Minh-Phuong Ngo & Zaki Wahhaj, 2010. "Microfinance and Gender Empowerment," CSAE Working Paper Series 2010-34, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  • Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2010-34
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.csae.ox.ac.uk/materials/papers/2010-34text.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1982. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 97-109, January.
    2. Suresh de Mel & David McKenzie & Christopher Woodruff, 2009. "Are Women More Credit Constrained? Experimental Evidence on Gender and Microenterprise Returns," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(3), pages 1-32, July.
    3. Ngo, Thi Minh-Phuong & Wahhaj, Zaki, 2012. "Microfinance and gender empowerment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 1-12.
    4. Edmonds, Eric V., 2008. "Child Labor," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
    5. Beatriz Armendariz & Nigel Roome, 2008. "Empowering women via microfinance in fragile states," Working Papers CEB 08-001.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    6. Duncan Thomas, 1990. "Intra-Household Resource Allocation: An Inferential Approach," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(4), pages 635-664.
    7. Mullany, Britta C. & Hindin, Michelle J. & Becker, Stan, 2005. "Can women's autonomy impede male involvement in pregnancy health in Katmandu, Nepal?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(9), pages 1993-2006, November.
    8. Lundberg, Shelly & Pollak, Robert A, 1994. "Noncooperative Bargaining Models of Marriage," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 132-137, May.
    9. John G. McPeak & Cheryl R. Doss, 2006. "Are Household Production Decisions Cooperative? Evidence on Pastoral Migration and Milk Sales from Northern Kenya," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 88(3), pages 525-541.
    10. Ligon, Ethan, 2002. "Dynamic bargaining in households (with application to Bangladesh)," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt1t52k4c5, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
    11. Duncan Thomas, 1994. "Like Father, like Son; Like Mother, like Daughter: Parental Resources and Child Height," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(4), pages 950-988.
    12. repec:cdl:agrebk:2221095 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Paul Mosley & Linda Mayoux, 1999. "Questioning virtuous spirals: micro-finance and women's empowerment in Africa," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(7), pages 957-984.
    14. Selten, Reinhard & Stoecker, Rolf, 1986. "End behavior in sequences of finite Prisoner's Dilemma supergames A learning theory approach," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 47-70, March.
    15. Lundberg, Shelly & Pollak, Robert A, 1993. "Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 988-1010, December.
    16. Theodore C. Bergstrom, 1996. "Economics in a Family Way," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1903-1934, December.
    17. Goetz, Anne Marie & Gupta, Rina Sen, 1996. "Who takes the credit? Gender, power, and control over loan use in rural credit programs in Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 45-63, January.
    18. Kanbur, Ravi & Haddad, Lawrence, 1994. "Are Better Off Households More Unequal or Less Unequal?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(3), pages 445-458, July.
    19. Robert Cull & Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Jonathan Morduch, 2009. "Microfinance Meets the Market," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(1), pages 167-192, Winter.
    20. Tassel, Eric Van, 2004. "Household bargaining and microfinance," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 449-468, August.
    21. Martin Ravallion, 2009. "Evaluation in the Practice of Development," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 24(1), pages 29-53, March.
    22. Suresh Sundaresan (ed.), 2008. "Microfinance," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 13148.
    23. Johnson, Susan, 2004. "Gender Norms in Financial Markets: Evidence from Kenya," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(8), pages 1355-1374, August.
    24. Shahidur R. Khandker, 2005. "Microfinance and Poverty: Evidence Using Panel Data from Bangladesh," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 19(2), pages 263-286.
    25. Pitt, Mark M & Khandker, Shahidur R & Cartwright, Jennifer, 2006. "Empowering Women with Micro Finance: Evidence from Bangladesh," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(4), pages 791-831, July.
    26. Theodore C. Bergstrom, 1996. "Economics in a Family Way," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1903-1934, December.
    27. Chen, Zhiqi & Woolley, Frances, 2001. "A Cournot-Nash Model of Family Decision Making," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(474), pages 722-748, October.
    28. Hashemi, Syed M. & Schuler, Sidney Ruth & Riley, Ann P., 1996. "Rural credit programs and women's empowerment in Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 635-653, April.
    29. Pollak, Robert A, 1994. "For Better or Worse: The Roles of Power in Models of Distribution within Marriage," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 148-152, May.
    30. Kabeer, Naila, 2001. "Conflicts Over Credit: Re-Evaluating the Empowerment Potential of Loans to Women in Rural Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 63-84, January.
    31. Silvia Pezzini, 2005. "The Effect of Women's Rights on Women's Welfare: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(502), pages 208-227, March.
    32. Marcel Fafchamps & Bereket Kebede & Agnes R. Quisumbing, 2009. "Intrahousehold Welfare in Rural Ethiopia," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 71(4), pages 567-599, August.
    33. Johnson, Eric J. & Camerer, Colin & Sen, Sankar & Rymon, Talia, 2002. "Detecting Failures of Backward Induction: Monitoring Information Search in Sequential Bargaining," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 104(1), pages 16-47, May.
    34. Thomas, Duncan & Contreras, Dante & Frankerberg, Elizabeth, 2002. "Distribution of power within the household and child health," MPRA Paper 80075, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Mar 2002.
    35. Ligon, Ethan, 2002. "Dynamic bargaining in households (with an application to Bangladesh)," CUDARE Working Paper Series 972, University of California at Berkeley, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Policy.
    36. McElroy, Marjorie B & Horney, Mary Jean, 1981. "Nash-Bargained Household Decisions: Toward a Generalization of the Theory of Demand," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 22(2), pages 333-349, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Shah, Deepak & Panigrahi, Sangram, 2015. "Determinants of Participation of Women in Self-Help Groups (SGHs) and Credit Delivery from Formal and Informal Sources to BPL Households in Odisha," Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Indian Society of Agricultural Economics, vol. 70(3).
    2. Ngo, Thi Minh-Phuong & Wahhaj, Zaki, 2012. "Microfinance and gender empowerment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 1-12.
    3. Luan, D. X. & Bauer, S. & Kuhl, R., 2016. "Income Impacts of Credit on Accessed Households in Rural Vietnam: Do Various Credit Sources Perform Differently?," AGRIS on-line Papers in Economics and Informatics, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Faculty of Economics and Management, vol. 8(1), March.
    4. Akoété Ega Agbodji & Yélé Maweki Batana & Dénis Ouedraogo, 2015. "Gender inequality in multidimensional welfare deprivation in West Africa: The case of Burkina Faso and Togo," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 42(11), pages 980-1004, November.
    5. 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.
    6. Chrysovalantis Gaganis, 2016. "Assessing the overall performance of microfinance institutions," International Journal of Banking, Accounting and Finance, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 7(1), pages 52-83.
    7. repec:eaa:eerese:v:17:y2017:i:2_4 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Agénor, Pierre-Richard & Canuto, Otaviano, 2015. "Gender equality and economic growth in Brazil: A long-run analysis," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 155-172.
    9. Paolo Casini & Olivia Riera & Paulo Santos Monteiro, 2015. "Labor market effects of improved access to credit among the poor: evidence from Cape Verde," LICOS Discussion Papers 36215, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
    10. Weber, Olaf & Ahmad, Adnan, 2014. "Empowerment Through Microfinance: The Relation Between Loan Cycle and Level of Empowerment," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 75-87.
    11. Klaus Abbink & Asadul Islam & Chau Nguyen, 2016. "Whose voice matters? An experimental examination of women empowerment in microfinance," Monash Economics Working Papers 40-16, Monash University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2010-34. 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: (Richard Payne). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/csaoxuk.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.