تأمین منابع مالی کوچک و توانمندسازی جنسیتی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|5487||2012||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||12180 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Development Economics, Volume 99, Issue 1, September 2012, Pages 1–12
In this paper, we develop a theoretical model of household production, bargaining and credit to analyse how access to microcredit affects intra-household decision-making and welfare, and identify conditions under which female household members are most likely to benefit. We show that, consistent with ethnographic accounts of the impact of microcredit programmes on poor households, access to loans can lead to a variety of outcomes for intra-household decision-making and welfare depending on initial conditions and that, in some instances, women borrowers may experience a decline in welfare. We identify two instances in which a woman is most likely to benefit: when there is scope for investing the loan profitably in a joint activity, and when a large share of the household budget is devoted to household public goods.
Over the past 30 years, microfinance practitioners and policy-makers have gravitated towards the view that targeting women in microcredit programmes is the most effective means to deliver wider social benefits. Providing women access to credit, it is argued, would strengthen their bargaining position within the household, and women are more likely than men to spend resources in ways that benefit the entire household (Armendariz de Aghion and Morduch, 2005, Khandker, 2003 and Pitt et al., 2006). Indeed, there exists a large body of evidence which shows that, controlling for total household resources, increasing resources in the hands of female household members has a greater impact on family welfare (Thomas, 1990, Thomas, 1994, Lundberg et al., 1997, Thomas et al., 2002 and Duflo, 2003). And bargaining models of the household with non-cooperation or divorce as the threat-point would lead to the same prediction if women are assumed to have a stronger preference than men for family-related goods (Bergstrom, 1996 and Lundberg and Pollak, 1993). However, making predictions about the potential impact of microfinance on the basis of this theory and evidence is far from straightforward: while women may readily keep control over cash transfers, access to credit necessarily triggers a complex decision-making process – including decisions about whether to participate in a credit programme, how to invest the loan, and how to divide the proceeds of the investment – in which household members have the incentive to make strategic choices to protect their individual welfare. This complexity is also highlighted by congruent evidence that many women borrowers relinquish the use of their loans, in part or in whole, to their spouses (Goetz and Gupta, 1996, Kabeer, 2001, Ngo, 2008 and Rahman, 1999). In this paper, we develop a theoretical model of household production, bargaining and credit to analyse how access to microcredit would affect intra-household decision-making and welfare and, in particular, identify conditions under which female household members are most likely to benefit. Our main interest is in patriarchal societies where social norms may impose strong restrictions on the type of productive activities a married woman may undertake. Therefore, we distinguish between three types of productive activities for men and women: (i) activities which a household member may carry out autonomously, (ii) activities which, given traditional gender roles, would require the active cooperation of both spouses, and (iii) activities which conflict with socially defined gender roles such that one would be willing to engage in them only after he or she has exited the marriage and gained pariah status within the community. We show that access to microfinance can lead to a variety of outcomes for intra-household decision-making and welfare depending on initial conditions, consistent with ethnographic accounts of the impact of microcredit programmes on poor households (Kabeer, 2001 and Rahman, 1999). A woman with few skills to carry out an productive activity that is sanctioned by socially defined gender norms is unlikely to experience an increase in bargaining power within the household from access to a credit programme. On the other hand, a woman who has sufficient skills to invest the loan profitably in an autonomous activity may have her husband veto the loan, or appropriate it for his own use, to retain his own bargaining power. We identify two instances in which a woman is most likely to experience an improvement in welfare; namely, when there is scope for investing the loan profitably in a joint activity, and when a large share of the household budget is devoted to household public goods. The reason is that under either of these conditions, an investment in a household activity causes a comparatively small shift in intra-household bargaining power, and therefore household members are less likely to exercise a veto or appropriate a loan to preserve their future bargaining position. We also identify a situation – namely, when a household member's welfare under non-cooperation is low compared to that from exiting the household – when access to the credit programme may actually weaken his or her bargaining position. A number of recent papers in the literature have used theoretical models of intra-household bargaining to analyse household choices regarding the control and use of microcredit loans. Ligon (2002) showed, using a framework of dynamic household bargaining, that even if a woman is able to invest a loan profitably in an autonomous activity, her bargaining position in the household may be undermined if the initiative causes her income stream to become more uncertain. In this case, she would be better off handing over the loan money to her husband rather than investing it herself. Van Tassel (2004) showed that relinquishing control of a loan can be a way for a woman to ensure that her husband helps to repay the debt and thereby secure access to future credit in the event that the current loan project fails. The key innovations in our theoretical framework compared to these contributions is the introduction of a sphere of joint production, and the incorporation of household public goods into the model. Allowing households to vary in terms of the scope of joint production, and the share of expenditures on household public goods, leads to the afore-mentioned predictions of heterogeneity in impact; and enable us to formally identify the conditions under which women are most likely to benefit from access to such programmes in patriarchal societies. Our characterisation of the role of joint production in household bargaining is anticipated by Kanbur and Haddad (1994). However, to our knowledge, the implications of these results for microfinance programmes have not previously been considered; furthermore, we provide a generalisation of the results in Kanbur and Haddad (1994). Our assumptions relating to the different spheres of production within the household are motivated by ethnographic studies which indicate that the scope for women to invest capital in purely autonomous activities is often circumscribed by gender norms that delineate the division of labour and responsibilities between men and women in the household and the wider community (Johnson, 2004, Kabeer, 1998, Kabeer, 2001, Mayoux, 1999 and Rahman, 1999). In particular, social conventions and gender norms regarding the division of labour may oblige women to remain near the home to take care of children, or restrain their ability to travel to markets. Limitations on women's self-employment opportunities within socially prescribed gender norms have been widely documented. For example, in Bangladesh, where the practice of purdah puts considerable limits on women's mobility in the public space, women who invest their loans in their own activities remain bound to home-based activities (e.g. poultry or milk cow rearing) in line with traditions stipulating that these activities are managed by women. Loans used by men and women in joint enterprises also retain the same gender structure, for example with women making puffed rice or sweet, which are then sold by their husbands (Anderson and Eswaran, 2007, Hashemi et al., 1996 and Kabeer, 1998). Our focus on cooperation in the household also echoes recent concerns about the consequences of excluding men in microfinance (Armendariz de Aghion and Roome, 2008) or health (Mullany et al., 2005) programmes, when their participation is important for programme success; and evidence that household enterprises that are managed with the cooperation of both spouses are more likely to make efficient use of capital injections (de Mel et al., 2009). The model on household production, bargaining and credit is developed and analysed in Section 2 of the paper. In Section 3, we illustrate the model's predictions using numerical simulations and by drawing on ethnographic studies of the outcomes of microcredit programmes. Section 4 concludes with further discussions of our theoretical results.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
In this paper, we developed a simple model to investigate how access to credit affects decision-making and the allocation of resources within the household in an environment where labour activities of household members are strongly circumscribed by socially defined gender norms. The model demonstrates that a microcredit programme is likely to have heterogeneous impacts across households. Access to credit may not improve a woman's decision-making authority within the household if she has limited skills to engage in an autonomous productive activity; or if she has substantial skills to do so but the husband finds it in his strategic interest to appropriate the loan to maintain his own bargaining power. By contrast, in housholds where capital can be invested in a joint productive activity, such an investment will shift decision-making authority power in favour of the spouse who is initially in a weaker bargaining position. Thus, the theory suggests that the impact of microfinance programmes on household welfare can vary according to initial conditions and underscores the importance of taking into account, in both practice and empirical research, the ability of female household members to undertake autonomous activities, and engage in joint production. We also show the theory can satisfactorily account for the heterogeneity of outcomes across households revealed in careful ethnographic studies of microcredit programmes. In the impoverished settings in which microfinance projects operate, kinship ties and marriage play an important role in providing individuals with legitimate claims over household and community resources, together with vital access to insurance networks in times of crisis. Hence, as argued by Kabeer (1998), cooperation and jointness of decision-making may be more desirable for women than autonomous control over resources. This perspective has important implications regarding our understanding of the empowering potential of microfinance programmes. If new economic opportunities lie outside the traditional realm of the female spouse and exit options for women are severely limited, then she may be better off ignoring them to preserve her social ties within the community. For these reasons, an intervention that requires the cooperation of both spouses and ensures that the male spouses do not lose out, may be more successful at achieving wider social impacts than interventions that focus on women's autonomous spheres only. In the context of microfinance, this reasoning suggests that women who receive complementary business training in an activity which requires their husbands' cooperation are more likely to benefit from access to credit than those who receive training in an autonomous productive activity that they can undertake independently within the household.