Cash-in-Hand, Wives-in-Power: An Exploratory Analysis of Microfinance in Jordan

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Pugh, Lauren
Empowerment; Intra-Spousal Decisions; Microfinance; Jordan; Middle East; Instrumental Variable; Two Stage Least Squares; Growth and Development
thesis / dissertation description
Microfinance is an economic policy complimentary to advancing female empowerment. Empowerment is particularly relevant in patriarchic Islamic contexts in the Middle East, however little research exists. Due to counterfactual creation and inconsistent empowerment measurement, the true impact is debated. This research proposes intra-spousal decision-making outcomes as the appropriate proxy to empowerment and uses a nuanced approach of counterfactual creation by utilizing responses from previous microfinance borrowers. Survey data from a Jordanian MFI is used to examine the endogeneity story and cash-in-hand effects on intra-spousal decision-making outcomes. An instrumental variable estimation technique finds a weak link between microfinance and empowerment.