By Sonia Maria Hernandez
Microfinance is the practice of extending small collateral-free loans to underserved populations in developing areas with no access to credit. The Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) randomized access to microfinance treatment for women in rural areas of Uganda and tracked outcomes through surveys. This research determines the impact of microfinance by analyzing outcomes over five dimensions of women’s empowerment, including decision making power, community participation, business outcomes, emotional wellness, and beliefs about women. The strongest results showed that access to the VSLA program empowered women in terms of business outcomes and decision-making power. This leads to the conclusion that microfinance can more easily impact how a woman behaves within the household than change how a woman behaves within the community.
Advisors: Professor Kent Kimbrough, Professor Lori Leachman | JEL Codes: O1, O12, O35
By Suhani Jalota
As the population of urban poor living in slums increases, governments are trying to relocate people into government–provided free housing. Slum redevelopment affects every part of a household’s livelihood, but most importantly the health and wellbeing of younger generations. This paper investigates the effect of slum redevelopment schemes on child stunting levels. Data was collected in forty–one buildings under the slum–redevelopment program in Mumbai. The study demonstrates through a fixed effect regression analysis that an additional year of living in the building is associated with an increase in the height–for–age Z–score by 0.124 standard deviations. Possible explanations include an improvement in the overall hygienic environment, sanitation conditions, indoor air pollution, and access to health and water facilities. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that water contamination, loss of livelihood and increased expenses could worsen health outcomes for residents. This study prompts more research on the health effects of slum redevelopment projects, which are becoming increasingly common in the rapidly urbanizing developing world.
Advisor: Erica Field, Michelle Connolly | JEL Codes: O12, O14, O17, O18, O22 | Tagged:
By Rachael Anderson
Although Turkey ranks among the world’s 20 largest economies, female labor force participation in Turkey is surprisingly low. Relative to other developed countries, however, the proportion of Turkish women in senior management is high. One explanation for these contrasting pictures of Turkey’s female labor force is education. To better understand how women’s education and household characteristics explain variations in Turkey’s female labor market, I use annual Turkish Household Labour Force Survey data from 2004–2012 to estimate five probabilities: the likelihood that a woman (1) participates in the labor force, or is employed in an (2) agricultural, (3) blue collar, (4) lower white collar, or (5) upper white collar job. I find that labor force participation is relatively high among female primary school graduates, who are most likely to work in agricultural and blue collar jobs. Highly educated married women are the most likely group to participate in upper white collar jobs, and families favor sending single daughters over wives to work during periods of reduced household income.
Advisor: Kent Kimbrough, Timur Kuran | JEL Codes: C51, J21, J23 | Tagged: Employment, Labor-force Participation, Occupation Women
The Impact of Micro-Banking on Health: Evidence from Self-Help Group Involvement and Child Nutrition
By Madeline Mckelway
Low income is only one nancial problem that poor families in developing countries face; impoverished households must also face irregularity of their low incomes. Self-help groups (SHGs) can enhance consumption stability by relaxing savings and credit constraints. In this study, I investigate the extent to which SHGs improve a particular dimension of household wellbeing: child nutrition. I analyze households aliated with the SHGs started by the People’s Education and Development Organization (P.E.D.O.) in rural Rajasthan, India. Children who had greater levels of exposure to household SHG membership at a young age have healthier anthropometric statuses than their siblings who had relatively less. This relationship does not appear to be driven by events coinciding with SHG involvement or by the tendency for certain children, who were also exposed to SHGs, to receive better nutrition than their siblings. These endings suggest that SHGs could improve child nutrition.
Advisor: Erica Field, Michelle Connolly | JEL Codes: O1, O12, O15, O16, O22 | Tagged:
By Rajlakshmi De
Understanding the role of foreign aid in poverty alleviation is one of the central inquiries for development economics. To augment past cross-country studies and randomized evaluations, this project data from Malawi is used in combination with multiple rounds of living standards data to predict the allocation and impact of health aid, water aid, and education aid. Both instrumentation and propensity score matching methods are used.
Advisor: Kent Kimbrough, Lori Leachman | JEL Codes: F35, I15, I25, I32, O12 | Tagged: