Poverty, microcredit program membership and domestic violence in Bangladesh: A study using propensity score matching
Presentation at the Population Association of America Annual Meeting, 17 April
Publication date: 2010
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 may be attributable to selection bias as members might differ from nonmembers 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 and 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 nonmembers are not significantly different and instead could depend on context-specific factors related to poverty.