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Public Good Provision in Indian Rural Areas: the Returns to Collective Action by Microfinance Groups

  • Paolo Casini

    (LICOS, K.U.Leuven)

  • Lore Vandewalle

    ()

    (Center for Research in the Economics of Development, University of Namur)

Self-Help Groups (SHGs) are the most common form of microfinance in India. We study the impact of collective actions undertaken by these groups, composed of women only, on the variety of public goods the elected local authorities deal with. We provide a simple model that suggests two hypotheses that we test and confirm using first hand data. The rst hypothesis states that local authorities provide a larger variety of public goods when SHGs undertake collective actions, compared to a situation with exclusive provision by the local authority. The second hypothesis states that local authorities begin or increase the provision of public goods preferred by SHGs and that these might include goods that exert a negative externality on other villagers. We provide evidence of an important non-financial benefit of microfinance: it provides a platform that allows socially disadvantaged women to meet regularly and discuss problems. When they undertake collective actions to solve those problems, these are recognized by the local authorities. Problems that are closer to the needs of women seem to find their way into the political agenda.

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File URL: http://www.fundp.ac.be/eco/economie/recherche/wpseries/wp/1119.pdf
File Function: First version, 2011
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Paper provided by University of Namur, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1119.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nam:wpaper:1119
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  1. Jean-Marie Baland & Rohini Somanathan & Lore Vandewalle, 2007. "Microfinance Lifespans: A Study of Attrition and Exclusion in Self-Help Groups in India," India Policy Forum, Global Economy and Development Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 4(1), pages 159-210.
  2. Gani Aldashev & Catherine Guirkinger, 2011. "Deadly Anchor: Gender Bias under Russian Colonization of Kazakhstan, 1898-1908," Working Papers 1111, University of Namur, Department of Economics.
  3. Lena Edlund & Rohini Pande, 2002. "Why Have Women Become Left-Wing? The Political Gender Gap And The Decline In Marriage," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 917-961, August.
  4. Raghabendra Chattopadhyay & Esther Duflo, 2004. "Women as Policy Makers: Evidence from a Randomized Policy Experiment in India," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1409-1443, 09.
  5. L. Randall Wray & Stephanie Bell, 2004. "Introduction," Chapters, in: Credit and State Theories of Money, chapter 1 Edward Elgar.
  6. Siwan Anderson & Jean-Marie Baland, 2002. "The Economics Of Roscas And Intrahousehold Resource Allocation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 963-995, August.
  7. Timothy Besley & Rohini Pande & Lupin Rahman & Vijayendra Rao, 2004. "The Politics of Public Good Provision: Evidence from Indian Local Governments," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 416-426, 04/05.
  8. Bénabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2004. "Incentives and Prosocial Behaviour," CEPR Discussion Papers 4633, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Dean Karlan & Martin Valdivia, 2007. "Teaching Entrepreneurship: Impact of Business Training on Microfinance Clients and Institutions," Working Papers 107, Center for Global Development.
  10. Polborn Mattias K, 2008. "Competing for Recognition through Public Good Provision," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-25, September.
  11. DellaVigna, Stefano & Kaplan, Ethan, 2006. "The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting," Seminar Papers 748, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  12. John R. Lott & Jr. & Lawrence W. Kenny, 1999. "Did Women's Suffrage Change the Size and Scope of Government?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1163-1198, December.
  13. 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.
  14. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 2003. "Centralized versus decentralized provision of local public goods: a political economy approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2611-2637, December.
  15. Maldonado, Jorge H. & González-Vega, Claudio, 2008. "Impact of Microfinance on Schooling: Evidence from Poor Rural Households in Bolivia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(11), pages 2440-2455, November.
  16. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
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