Can Women's Self-Help Groups Contribute to Sustainable Development? Evidence of Capability Changes from Northern India

55 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2020

See all articles by Paul Anand

Paul Anand

The Open University - Department of Economics; London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science (CPNSS); IZA; University of Oxford

Swati Saxena

Independent

Rolando Gonzales

University of Agder

Hai-Anh Dang

World Bank - Development Data Group (DECDG); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA); Global Labor Organization (GLO); Vietnam National University Ha Noi; Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS) - Centre for Analysis and Forecasting

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Abstract

This paper offers an evaluation of a supported women's self help program with over 1.5 million participants in one of the poorest rural regions of the world (Uttar Pradesh, India). Methodologically, it shows how indicators from the direct capability measurement literature can be adapted for program evaluation in a low income country setting. Unique data on capabilities across a range of dimensions are then developed for some 6000 women and used to estimate a number of propensity score matching models. The substantive empirical results of these models indicate that many of the capability indicators are higher for program members, that the difference appears robust, and that there are significant benefits for those from scheduled tribes and lower castes.The discussion highlights two points. First, human development improvements offered by multi-strand programs can help to explain the paradox as to why nearly 100 million women (in India alone) have participated in self help programs despite modest global research evidence for micro-finance impacts on nominal incomes. Second, results argue strongly for the use of capability measures over agency measures focused solely on household decision-making to assess women's empowerment when structural causes of disempowerment, external to the household, are present and significant.

Keywords: propensity score matching, sustainable development, self-help groups, capability measurement, Sen, poverty, female empowerment

JEL Classification: I31, I32, O35

Suggested Citation

Anand, Paul and Saxena, Swati and Gonzales, Rolando and Dang, Hai-Anh H., Can Women's Self-Help Groups Contribute to Sustainable Development? Evidence of Capability Changes from Northern India. IZA Discussion Paper No. 12940, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3534488

Paul Anand (Contact Author)

The Open University - Department of Economics ( email )

Walton Hall
Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA
United Kingdom

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science (CPNSS) ( email )

United Kingdom

IZA ( email )

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

Swati Saxena

Independent ( email )

Rolando Gonzales

University of Agder ( email )

Serviceboks 422
N-4604 Kristiansand, VEST AGDER 4604
Norway

Hai-Anh H. Dang

World Bank - Development Data Group (DECDG) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MC2-846
Washington, DC 20433
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/haianhhdang/

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA) ( email )

1315 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

Global Labor Organization (GLO) ( email )

Collogne
Germany

Vietnam National University Ha Noi ( email )

Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS) - Centre for Analysis and Forecasting ( email )

1 Lieu Giai Street
Hanoi
Vietnam

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
3
Abstract Views
110
PlumX Metrics