Poverty, Microcredit Program Membership and Domestic Violence in Bangladesh: A Study Using Propensity Score Matching

Ashish Bajracharya, Population Council

This paper explores the relationship between women’s participation in microcredit groups and domestic violence in Bangladesh. Several recent studies have raised concern about microcredit programs by reporting higher levels of violence among women who are members. These results however maybe attributable to selection bias as members might differ from non-members in significant ways to begin with that make them more susceptible to violence. Using a sample of currently married women from the 2007 Bangladesh Demographic Health Survey (N=4,467), we use propensity score matching (PSM) as a way of addressing selection bias in this relationship. Preliminary results suggest that the previously seen strong positive association between membership and violence does not hold when an appropriate comparison group generated using PSM is used in the analyses. Multivariate analyses also suggest that levels of violence between members and non-members are not significantly different and instead could depend on context-specific factors related to poverty.

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Presented in Session 160: Women's Empowerment and Disempowerment in Developing Countries