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Women's Autonomy and Subjective Well-Being in India: How Village Norms Shape the Impact of Self-Help Groups

Author

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  • De Hoop, Thomas
  • Van Kempen, Luuk
  • Linssen, Rik
  • Van Eerdewijk, Anouka

Abstract

This paper presents quasi-experimental impact estimates of women self-help groups on subjective well-being in Orissa, India. We find that, on average, self-help group membership does not affect subjective well-being. However, our results at the same time reveal that subjective well-being sharply declines for those members whose newly gained autonomy meets with relatively conservative social gender norms among non-members. We interpret this finding as evidence for heterogeneous losses of feelings of identity for self-help group members. Identity losses loom larger when women’s enhanced autonomy implies a stronger violation of social gender norms at the community level. Social sanctioning mechanisms play an important role in the heterogeneous negative impact on subjective well-being, as evidenced by qualitative accounts of women’s empowerment trajectories in the research area.

Suggested Citation

  • De Hoop, Thomas & Van Kempen, Luuk & Linssen, Rik & Van Eerdewijk, Anouka, 2010. "Women's Autonomy and Subjective Well-Being in India: How Village Norms Shape the Impact of Self-Help Groups," MPRA Paper 25921, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:25921
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/25921/1/MPRA_paper_25921.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Autonomy; Subjective Well-Being; Impact Evaluation; Identity; Sanctioning; India;

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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