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Microcredit and women's empowerment in Bangladesh: a structural equation model for categorical observed variables


  • Cristina Elisa Orso

    () (Dipartimento di Economia, Università Ca' Foscari)

  • Enrico Fabrizi

    () (DISCE, Università Cattolica)


This paper employs the Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (2004) to explore the relationship between participation in microcredit programs and women's empowerment using a structural equation model with categorical observed variables. A MCMC-based Bayesian approach is adopted for estimation. Along with participation in microcredit, we consider a variety of socio-cultural aspects as potential predictors of empowerment in the Bangladeshi context including men's perceptions about women's status. We conclude that gender community norms are strongly rooted in women's minds regardless of the partners' perceptions of women's status, and microcredit interventions may actually contribute to change gender beliefs and social attitudes.

Suggested Citation

  • Cristina Elisa Orso & Enrico Fabrizi, 2013. "Microcredit and women's empowerment in Bangladesh: a structural equation model for categorical observed variables," DISCE - Quaderni del Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali dises1396, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
  • Handle: RePEc:ctc:serie2:dises1396

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Beatriz Armendáriz & Jonathan Morduch, 2010. "The Economics of Microfinance, Second Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262014106, January.
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    5. Alberto Chong & Eliana La Ferrara, 2009. "Television and Divorce: Evidence from Brazilian Novelas," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 458-468, 04-05.
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    9. 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.
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    11. 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.
    12. 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.
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    14. Ranjula Bali Swain & Fan Yang Wallentin, 2009. "Does microfinance empower women? Evidence from self-help groups in India," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(5), pages 541-556.
    15. World Bank, 2008. "Poverty Assessment for Bangladesh," World Bank Other Operational Studies 28239, The World Bank.
    16. 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.
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    More about this item


    Microcredit programs; Women's empowerment; Gender relations; Asia; Bangladesh; Bayesian approach.;

    JEL classification:

    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations

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