Impact of Microcredit on Women Empowerment

Last registered on July 12, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Impact of Microcredit on Women Empowerment
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0007922
Initial registration date
July 12, 2021
Last updated
July 12, 2021, 11:49 AM EDT

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Dvara Research

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Dvara Research
PI Affiliation
Meghnad Desai Academy of Economics

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2022-01-07
End date
2023-06-07
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Experiments studying the impact of microcredit have not been able to provide answers to why microcredit works in some contexts while it does not work in some others. There have been studies that have found certain pre-conditions of the households that play an important role in advancing the impact of microcredit such as financial resources, human capital, and physical capital. Other such relevant factors are the norms around decision-making, gender roles, and bargaining power within the household. Therefore, it is important to understand these factors in detail. Through this study, we wish to understand whether microcredit is a useful tool in increasing women’s intrahousehold bargaining power, and consequently whether it has any positive impact on other socio-economic outcomes for the household.

The study is divided into two stages- the pilot stage and the full-rollout stage.
Pilot stage-
We propose to conduct a pilot survey for the study among a randomly selected sample of 360 Dvara KGFS (Dvara KGFS is a financial institution operating in remote and rural parts of 6 Indian states) customers. This will involve administering the survey instrument as well as the intra-household bargaining games among study respondents. The sample for the pilot survey will consist of two groups of KGFS clientele- (i) early stage KGFS clients who are in their first loan cycle and (ii) mature/late stage KGFS clients who are in their seventh loan cycle or more. This will allow us to test for the differences in the intra-household bargaining power between the two groups and examine the relationship between access to microcredit (via KGFS) and women’s bargaining power.
Full rollout stage-
To assess the impact of microcredit on women’s intra household bargaining power, we will conduct an augmented RCT, wherein we will randomly assign microcredit to half of the eligible clients who apply for microfinance loans (treated group), and then perform a lab-in-the-field experiment both at baseline, before the actual disbursement of the loans, and then 12 months after the loan has been rolled out. By comparing the two lab-in-the-field bargaining experiments and estimating the difference between treatment and control, we will measure the impact of microfinance loans on intrahousehold bargaining power of women. Finally, by comparing the findings from the baseline and the endline survey, we will examine the causal effect (Average Treatment Effect) of microfinance borrowing on new business creation, income, control over income, household consumption, as well as on measures of human development outcomes, such as education, health, and women’s empowerment. We propose to conduct the full rollout among 2000 households.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Agrawal, Niyati, Shagata Mukherjee and Misha Sharma. 2021. "Impact of Microcredit on Women Empowerment." AEA RCT Registry. July 12. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.7922-1.0
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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
The intervention is to provide access to microfinance to low-income households in rural and remote parts of India (we will select 2 Indian states for the study). We will partner with Dvara KGFS, a financial institution that specializes in microfinance and catering to the financial needs of rural households. The intervention will take the form of identifying eligible households to receive microcredit and then randomly selecting households within that group who will be provided with microcredit (treatment group) and the other set of households who will not receive microcredit (control group).
Intervention Start Date
2022-03-07
Intervention End Date
2022-05-07

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Does access to microcredit lead to women empowerment?
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
We define women empowerment from the lens of women’s intra-household bargaining power, given its implications for the status of women and the well-being of women and other household members.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Does microcredit have downstream effects on social outcomes such as child’s health, nutrition, education, and economic outcomes such as income, consumption, and business creation by women?
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Pilot stage-
We propose to conduct a pilot survey for the proposed study among a randomly selected sample of 360 KGFS customers. This will involve administering the survey instrument as well as the intra-household bargaining games among study respondents. The sample for the pilot survey will consist of two groups of KGFS clientele- (i) early stage KGFS clients who are in their first loan cycle and (ii) mature/late stage KGFS clients who are in their third loan cycle or more. Researchers will use administrative data provided by KGFS to select customers across the two groups. Matching techniques will be applied to the data to ensure that the two groups are similar/comparable across observable factors, except for the stage of loan cycle they are in.

Full Rollout-
We will conduct an augmented RCT among a randomly selected sample of 2000 households, where we will combine an RCT with lab-in-the-field experiments to infer the impact of microcredit. For this experiment, from all the eligible clients who apply for microfinance loans, we will randomly assign loans to half of the customers of a microfinance institution, who will form the treatment group. The other half, who will not be assigned the loans, will form the control group. We will conduct a baseline survey, along with incentivized intra-household bargaining game experiments with both treatment and control households. The intra-household bargaining games will be conducted as lab-in-the-field experiments with married couples who live together in the same household. Twelve months after the loan disbursement (intervention), we will go back and conduct an endline survey and the intra-household bargaining game experiments again with our entire sample.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer using statistical packages.
Randomization Unit
Service Area (a service area is a cluster of villages that each Dvara KGFS branch caters to).
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
100 service areas
Sample size: planned number of observations
360 for the pilot (180 treated and 180 control units) for the pilot study and 2000 (1000 treated and 1000 control units for the full roll-out).
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
360 for the pilot (180 treated and 180 control units) for the pilot study
2000 for the full roll-out (1000 treated and 1000 control units). 20 households per service area
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Monk Prayogshala Institutional Review Board (IRB)
IRB Approval Date
2021-06-10
IRB Approval Number
#063-021