Munich Personal RePEc Archive

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

Boulier, Bryan and Emran, M. Shahe and Hoque, Nazmul (2021): Access to Credit, Education, and Women’s Say in the Household: Evidence from Bangladesh.

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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.

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