Access to Credit, Education, and Women’s Say in the Household: Evidence from Bangladesh

47 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2021

See all articles by Bryan L. Boulier

Bryan L. Boulier

George Washington University - Department of Economics

Shahe Emran

Columbia University

Nazmul Hoque

East West University

Date Written: April 29, 2021

Abstract

A substantial literature on women’s say in the household focuses on microcredit, but there is little evidence on the relative roles of credit and education. Using household survey data from Bangladesh, we provide a comparative analysis of the effects of education and microcredit on women’s decision making power in the household. We implement two econometric approaches: bias adjusted OLS estimator of Oster (2019) that extends the Altonji et al. (2005) approach where selection on observables is used as a guide to selection on unobservables, and doubly robust radius matching estimator of Lechner et al. (2011). The evidence suggests a limited impact of microcredit, consistent with the recent evidence from RCT based studies. In contrast, education is much more important for enhancing women’s say in a range of household decisions. There is no significant interaction effect between education and credit. Evidence from Gelbach decomposition suggests that outside employment is an important mediating mechanism, but household wealth and assortative marriage matching on education are not important. The impact of education on women’s decision making remains strong even after controlling for these mediating factors, pointing to the importance of other mechanisms such as self-confidence and better negotiation skills of educated women.

Keywords: Women’s Empowerment, Household Decision Making, Women’s Education, Microcredit, Bangladesh

Suggested Citation

Boulier, Bryan L. and Emran, Shahe and Hoque, Md. Nazmul, Access to Credit, Education, and Women’s Say in the Household: Evidence from Bangladesh (April 29, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3896587 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3896587

Bryan L. Boulier

George Washington University - Department of Economics ( email )

Monroe Hall, Suite 340
2115 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052
United States
202-994-8088 (Phone)
202-994-6147 (Fax)

Shahe Emran

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Md. Nazmul Hoque (Contact Author)

East West University ( email )

Dhaka, 1212
Bangladesh

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