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Self-Help Groups and Income Generation in the Informal Settlements of Nairobi

  • Eliana La Ferrara

    (Bocconi University; IGIER)

The aim of this paper is to understand the functioning and the scope of self-help groups in the informal settlements of urban areas as a means of generating income for poor households. The paper uses a unique dataset collected by the author in 1999 surveying all individual group members from several informal settlements of Nairobi. It studies the individual determinants of earnings within groups and relates group composition to various indicators of group functioning. Sex, age and ethnic identity are among the most important determinants of individual reliance on group income and of access to group loans. Heterogeneity in earnings among members is shown to reduce their ability to borrow from the group as a whole but not from each other. The impact of ethnic and other forms of heterogeneity on the division of labor, choice of compensation schemes, sanctioning technology and recruitment criteria is also described.

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File URL: http://www.dagliano.unimi.it/media/WP2002_163.pdf
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Paper provided by Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano in its series Development Working Papers with number 163.

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Date of creation: 01 May 2002
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Handle: RePEc:csl:devewp:163
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  1. Ghatak, Maitreesh & Guinnane, Timothy W., 1999. "The economics of lending with joint liability: theory and practice," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 195-228, October.
  2. Jonathan Isham, 2002. "The Effect of Social Capital on Fertilizer Adoption: Evidence from Rural Tanzania," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0225, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  3. Narayan, Deepa & Pritchett, Lant, 1999. "Cents and Sociability: Household Income and Social Capital in Rural Tanzania," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(4), pages 871-97, July.
  4. Wydick, Bruce, 1999. "Can Social Cohesion Be Harnessed to Repair Market Failures? Evidence from Group Lending in Guatemala," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(457), pages 463-75, July.
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