Access to Microcredit Programs and Spousal Violence in Rural Bangladesh

Yoo-Mi Chin, Missouri University

Does women’s access to credit decrease risk of violence towards them by enhancing women’s bargaining power or increase risk of violence by triggering men’s backlash motives? Existing empirical studies of the effect of microcredit programs on spousal violence are inconclusive and lack convincing causal inferences. In this paper, I draw on both a difference-in-difference technique and instrumental variables to identify the causal effect of the program on spousal violence. Simple difference-in-differences results suggest that women who reside in program villages and eligible to borrow are less likely to experience pushing, punching, or coercive sex than their counterparts. Further, instrumental variables models, using the interaction between the eligibility and the program availability as the instrument, indicate that women’s credit program participation decreases the probability of pushing by 0.4, punching by 0.3, and coercive sex by 0.4. The findings support the female empowerment effects of the program.

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Presented in Poster Session 4