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Household Access to Microcredit and Children's Food Security in Rural Malawi: A Gender Perspective


  • Hazarika, Gautam

    () (The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley)

  • Guha-Khasnobis, Basudeb

    () (UNU-WIDER)


Using data from the 1995 Malawi Financial Markets and Food Security Survey, this study seeks to discover if women's relative control over household resources or intra-household bargaining power in rural Malawi, gauged by their access to microcredit, plays a role in children's food security, measured by anthropometric nutritional Z-scores. Access to microcredit is assessed in a novel way as self-reported credit limits at microcredit organizations. Since credit limits, that is, the maximum sums that might be borrowed, hinge upon supply-side factors such as the availability of credit programs and the financial resources of lenders, it is plausible they are more exogenous than demand driven loan uptake or participation in microcredit organizations, the common ways of gauging access to microcredit. It is indicated that whereas the access to microcredit of adult female household members improves 0–6 year old girls', though not boys', long-term nutrition as measured by height-for-age, the access to microcredit of male members has no such salutary effect on either girls' or boys' nutritional status. This may be interpreted as evidence of a positive relation between women's relative control over household resources and young girls' food security. That women's access to microcredit improves young girls' long-term nutrition may be explained in part by the subsidiary finding that it raises household expenditure on food.

Suggested Citation

  • Hazarika, Gautam & Guha-Khasnobis, Basudeb, 2008. "Household Access to Microcredit and Children's Food Security in Rural Malawi: A Gender Perspective," IZA Discussion Papers 3793, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3793

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kafle, Kashi & Jolliffe, Dean & Winter-Nelson, Alex, 2017. "Do Different Types of Assets Have Differential Effects on Child Education? Evidence from Tanzania," IZA Discussion Papers 11233, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Fuwa Nobuhiko & Ito Seiro & Kubo Kensuke & Kurosaki Takashi & Sawada Yasuyuki, 2012. "How Does Credit Access Affect Children's Time Allocation?: Evidence from Rural India," Journal of Globalization and Development, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-28, June.
    3. Swamy, Vighneswara, 2014. "Financial Inclusion, Gender Dimension, and Economic Impact on Poor Households," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 1-15.
    4. Jacobus Hoop & Patrick Premand & Furio Rosati & Renos Vakis, 2018. "Women’s economic capacity and children’s human capital accumulation," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 31(2), pages 453-481, April.
    5. repec:pid:journl:v:55:y:2016:i:4:p:853-870 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Bidisha, Sayema Haque & Khan, Akib & Imran, Khalid & Khondker, Bazlul H. & Suhrawardy, Gazi Mohammad, 2017. "Role of credit in food security and dietary diversity in Bangladesh," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 33-45.
    7. Vimefall, Elin, 2015. "Income diversification and working children," Working Papers 2015:8, Örebro University, School of Business.
    8. Ghosh, Saibal & Vinod, D., 2017. "What Constrains Financial Inclusion for Women? Evidence from Indian Micro data," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 60-81.

    More about this item


    intra-household distribution; bargaining; microcredit; gender; Malawi;

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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