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

Author

Listed:
  • Paolo Casini

    (LICOS, K.U.Leuven)

  • Lore Vandewalle

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Paolo Casini & Lore Vandewalle, 2011. "Public Good Provision in Indian Rural Areas: the Returns to Collective Action by Microfinance Groups," Working Papers 1119, University of Namur, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:nam:wpaper:1119
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    Cited by:

    1. Ban,Radu & Gilligan,Michael J. & Rieger,Matthias, 2015. "Self-help groups, savings and social capital : evidence from a field experiment in Cambodia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7382, The World Bank.
    2. Jean-Marie Baland & Rohini Somanathan & Lore Vandewalle, 2011. "Socially Disadvantaged Groups and Microfinance in India," Working Papers 1117, University of Namur, Department of Economics.
    3. Bathla, S. & Bhattacharya, P. & D'Souza, Anna, 2015. "India’s National Food Security Act 2013: Food Distribution through Revamped Public Distribution System or Food Stamps and Cash Transfers?," Agricultural Economics Research Review, Agricultural Economics Research Association (India), vol. 28(1).
    4. Vandewalle, Lore, 2017. "The Role of Accountants in Indian Self-Help Groups: A Trade-off between Financial and Non-Financial Benefits," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 177-192.
    5. Brian P. Greaney & Joseph P. Kaboski & Eva Van Leemput, 2016. "Can Self-Help Groups Really Be "Self-Help"?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 83(4), pages 1614-1644.
    6. Guilhem Cassan & Lore Vandewalle, 2017. "Identities and Public Policies: Unintended Effects of Political Reservations for Women in India," IHEID Working Papers 18-2017, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
    7. Raj M. Desai & Shareen Joshi, 2014. "Collective Action and Community Development: Evidence from Self-Help Groups in Rural India," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 28(3), pages 492-524.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance

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