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Does micro-credit empower women : evidence from Bangladesh

  • Pitt, Mark M.
  • Khandker, Shahidur R.
  • Cartwright, Jennifer

This paper examines the effects of men's and women's participation in group-based micro-credit programs on a large set of qualitative responses to questions that characterize women's autonomy and gender relations within the household. The data come from a special survey carried out in rural Bangladesh in 1998-99. The results are consistent with the view that women's participation in micro-credit programs helps to increase women's empowerment. Credit program participation leads to women taking a greater role in household decisionmaking, having greater access to financial and economic resources, having greater social networks, having greater bargaining power compared with their husbands, and having greater freedom of mobility. Female credit also tended to increase spousal communication in general about family planning and parenting concerns. The effects of male credit on women's empowerment were, at best, neutral, and at worse, decidedly negative. Male credit had a negative effect on several arenas of women's empowerment, including physical mobility, access to savings and economic resources, and power to manage some household transactions.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2998.

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Date of creation: 31 Mar 2003
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2998
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  1. Sophia Rabe-Hesketh, 1999. "GLLAMM: Stata program to fit generalised linear latent and mixed models," Statistical Software Components S401701, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 11 Sep 2011.
  2. Browning, M. & Chiappori, P.A., 1994. "Efficient Intra-Household allocations: A General Characterization and Empirical Tests," DELTA Working Papers 94-16, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  3. Goetz, Anne Marie & Gupta, Rina Sen, 1996. "Who takes the credit? Gender, power, and control over loan use in rural credit programs in Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 45-63, January.
  4. Khandker, S.R. & Khalily, B. & Khan, Z., 1995. "Grameen Bank: Performance and Sustainability," World Bank - Discussion Papers 306, World Bank.
  5. Mark M. Pitt & Shahidur R. Khandker & Omar Haider Chowdhury & Daniel L. Millimet, 2003. "Credit Programs for the Poor And the Health Status of Children in Rural Bangladesh," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(1), pages 87-118, February.
  6. Mark M. Pitt, 1997. "Estimating the Determinants of Child Health When Fertility and Mortality Are Selective," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(1), pages 129-158.
  7. Hashemi, Syed M. & Schuler, Sidney Ruth & Riley, Ann P., 1996. "Rural credit programs and women's empowerment in Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 635-653, April.
  8. Mark M. Pitt & Shahidur R. Khandker & Omar Haider Chowdhury & Daniel L. Millimet, 1998. "Credit Programs for the Poor and the Nutritional Status of Children in Rural Bangladesh," Working Papers 98-4, Brown University, Department of Economics, revised 16 Jan 1998.
  9. 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.
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