IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Borrowing and Women’s Empowerment: Does Type of Credit Matter?

  • Isabelle Agier
  • Supriya Garikipati
  • Isabelle Guérin
  • Ariane Szafarz

Poor women have complex financial lives. They borrow from a variety of sources. So far, however, research has focussed only on formal borrowing as a source of women’s empowerment. This study examines whether type of borrowing matters to women. We differentiate between ‘easy loans’ – that are easy to access and have flexible conditions – and ‘contracted loans’ – that require a contractual agreement, usually written. We examine whether type of loan matters for one dimension of women’s empowerment – their bargaining power in household decisions. We separately consider women’s role in routine and strategic decisions. Drawing on a household survey from Tamil Nadu, we find that easy loans support women’s bargaining power in household decisions, whereas contracted loans have no impact. Women rely heavily on easy loans because of their flexibility. These loans, however, are usurious and lenders are known to use coercion to elicit compliance. This suggests a niche in the market for institutional providers.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Our checks indicate that this address may not be valid because: 500 Can't connect to If this is indeed the case, please notify (Benoit Pauwels)

File Function: wp13038
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series Working Papers CEB with number 13-038.

in new window

Length: 37 p.
Date of creation: 23 Oct 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published by:
Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/150440
Contact details of provider: Postal: CP114/03, 42 avenue F.D. Roosevelt, 1050 Bruxelles
Phone: +32 (0)2 650.48.64
Fax: +32 (0)2 650.41.88
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/150440. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Benoit Pauwels)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.