East Asia and Pacific
Bidani, Coh and O'Leary (2002)
This study evaluates the effectiveness of training programs for workers retrenched from Chinese state-owned enterprises in the cities of Shenyang and Wuhan. A variety of impact estimators were applied, however ordinary least squares (OLS) controlling for observable characteristic s was robust. We find that training dampens reemployment prospects in Shenyang but improves them in Wuhan. Training impact estimates computed by propensity score and log odds ratio matching imposing various support condition rules, yielded estimates very similar to those from the OLS. The estimates suggest that participation in training reduces the probability of being employed one year after participation by about 6 percentage points in Shenyang, but increases the employment likelihood by about 8 percentage points in Wuhan. Among those who are reemployed, training does not have any effect on earnings.
Intervention settings: Urban (Shenyang and Wuhan).
Intervention description: Retraining and job search assistance, administered by local labor bureaus, to promote labor market entry of people laid off by state-owned enterprises. One month training courses in computer training, beauty and massage, hair cutting, sewing, toy making, cooking, repair training and driver education. Class sizes during the training sessions were often large with 200 to 300 workers in a small classroom.
Methodology: Three different treatment/comparison group samples analyzed using multiple methodologies that include prop score matching, matching on odds-ratios and OLS.
Findings: Positive impact on employment probability in Wuhan. No effect on earning in Shenyang. Negative effect on employment probability in Shenyang.
The Acquisition and Diffusion of Knowledge: The Case of Pest Management Training in Farmer Field Schools, IndonesiaFeder, Murgai and Quizon (2004)
Farmer Field Schools (FFS) are an intensive training approach introduced in the last decade in many developing countries to promote knowledge and uptake of ecologically sensible production approaches, and in particular, integrated pest management which minimises pesticide use. Because of the high training cost, the viability of the program depends crucially on the effectiveness of knowledge diffusion from trained farmers to other farmers. This paper uses panel data from Indonesia to assess the extent of diffusion of knowledge regarding integrated pest management from trained farmers to other farmers. The results confirm that better knowledge leads indeed to reduced pesticide use, and that trained farmers make a modest gain in knowledge. However, there is no significant diffusion of knowledge to other farmers who reside in the same villages as the trained farmers. These results imply that revision in the training procedures and curriculum need to be considered if the FFS approach is to become viable and effective.
Intervention settings: Rural.
Intervention description: Farmer field schools.
Methodology: Difference in differences estimation.
Sample: 320 households in villages that had not yet been exposed to farmer field schools.
Findings: Modest effect of FFS on knowledge of participants. No effect on the knowledge of their neighbors.
Hare et al. (2007)
Women are an important mainstay of agricultural production in China, though their access to land is characterized by even greater ambiguity than that of their male counterparts. As part of its path toward liberalization, China undertook agricultural land management policy reforms that were aimed at increasing the security of land tenure rights, but these reforms have paradoxically exacerbated the uncertainty surrounding women's claims to land. Utilizing sample survey data collected from 412 rural households in Shaanxi and Hunan provinces in 2002, this paper documents and analyzes gender differences in land allocations. The findings of this study shed light on the degree to which community characteristics coupled with current local practices (such as frequency of reallocation) influence gender disparities. Results suggest that a growing number of women experience loss of contract land coincident with marrying, and this trend may be expected to increase given the current direction of land policy.
Intervention description: Land titling.
Methodology: Logit and hazard models with 2002 household survey.
Sample: 412 households (Shaanxi and Hunan provinces).
Findings: Landlessness among women in China's low-income households is associated with less decision-making authority and suggests a reduced status within their households. China's land management policy reforms after 1978, which shifted land use rights from collectives to households, have resulted in a higher incidence of landlessness among married women.
This paper analyzes multiple measures of married women's empowerment in the domestic sphere in 56 communities spanning five Asian countries (India, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines and Thailand). At issue is whether community or individual characteristics are better predictors of women's empowerment, and whether different dimensions of empowerment are similarly related to community or individual traits. The analysis shows that, consistent with the theoretical approach employed here, which treats gender relations as heavily influenced by community norms and values, community is a far stronger predictor of women's empowerment than are individual traits. The relationship of both community and individual traits to different measures of empowerment vary, suggesting that "empowerment" is inherently a multi- dimensional phenomenon, with women relatively empowered in some spheres but not in others. The primary policy implication is the importance of changing community norms and values about gender relations for empowering women. The results also suggest that policies to raise women's age at marriage, enhance their educations and open greater employment opportunities will also help to empower them, at least in some respects.
Intervention description: Land titling.
Methodology: OLS regressions of wives' domestic economic power with 1993-94, authors' own survey.
Sample: 7,287 women from five countries.
Findings: Land ownership has positive impact on women's authority in making household-expenditure decisions in India and Thailand.
Van den Broeck, Newman, and Tarp (2007)
In most of the empirical literature on land titling, the household is regarded as unitary, and land rights are found to have ambiguous effects on land allocation, investment and productivity. Using data from 12 provinces in Vietnam, we diversify land titles, and show in a household fixed effects analysis of plot level rice yields that land titles are indeed important. Only exclusively held titles have the expected positive effects, and the positive effect on yields is found in male headed households. Furthermore, a household level rice yield function reveals that exclusive user rights are inefficiency decreasing, while jointly held user rights have no efficiency effects. Finally, once the gender of the head of household is controlled for, exclusively held female titles have a greater positive effect on the efficiency of the household than that of male held titles.
Intervention description: Land titling.
Methodology: Household fixed effects models for rice yields with 2006 Access to Resources Household Survey.
Sample: 4,478 households (16% female-headed).
Findings: Land-use rights positively impacted rice yields in male-headed households but not in female-headed households.
Household Decision Making and Savings Impacts: Further Evidence from a Commitment Savings Product in the PhilippinesAshraf, Karlan and Yin (2006)
Commitment devices for savings could benefit those with self-control as well as familial or spousal control issues. We find evidence to support both motivations. We examine the impact of a commitment savings product in the Philippines on household decision making power and self- perception of savings behavior, as well as actual savings. The product leads to more decision making power in the household for women, and likewise more purchases of female-oriented durable goods. We also find that the product leads women who appear time-inconsistent in a baseline survey to self-report being a disciplined saver in the follow-up survey. For impact on savings balances, we find that the 81% increase in savings after one year did not crowd out savings held outside of the participating bank, but that the longer-term impact over two and a half years on bank savings dissipated to only a 33% increase, which is no longer statistically significant. We discuss reasons why the effect dissipated and the implications for designing and implementing sustainable, equilibrium-shifting interventions.
Intervention settings: Rural: greater Butuan City.
Intervention description: Treatment group received a lock box for their savings that they were not allowed to open until they had met their savings goals.
Sample: 1,777 Green Bank clients (1,635 in follow-up) with savings accounts in two branches with identifiable addresses. 60% female and 77% married.
Findings: Household savings increased by 81% after one year (without crowding out other savings). Decision-making power also increased significantly in the treatment group (especially among married women with below-median decision-making power pre-intervention). After 32 months, administrative data indicate that the effect on household savings was no longer significant.
Ashraf, Karlan, and Yin (2007)
Female "empowerment" has increasingly become a policy goal, both as an end to itself and as a means to achieving other development goals. Microfinance in particular has often been argued, but not without controversy, to be a tool for empowering women. Here, using a randomized controlled trial, we examine whether access to and marketing of an individually-held commitment savings product leads to an increase in female decision-making power within the household. We find positive impacts, particularly for women who have below median decision-making power in the baseline, and we find this leads to a shift towards female-oriented durables goods purchased in the household.
Intervention settings: Unknown.
Intervention description: Individual commitment savings product provided by a rural bank. Account matures only when a pre-specified goal is reached. Savings training.
Sample: 3,125 bank clients and non-clients (60% women and most married).
Findings: Consumption of durables associated with women increased only among married women who started below the median level of decision-making power.
Subsidizing Vocational Training for Disadvantaged Youth in Colombia: Evidence from a Randomized TrialAttanasio et al (2011)
This paper evaluates the impact of a randomized training program for disadvantaged youth introduced in Colombia in 2005. This randomized trial offers a unique opportunity to examine the impact of training in a middle income country. We use originally collected data on individuals randomly offered and not offered training. The program raises earnings and employment for women. Women offered training earn 19.6 percent more and have a 0.068 higher probability of paid employment than those not offered training, mainly in formal-sector jobs. Cost-benefit analysis of these results suggests that the program generates much larger net gains than those found in developed countries. (JEL I28, J13, J24, O15)
Intervention settings: Rural.
Intervention description: One treatment group was offered a group lending product, while the other was offered an individual lending product. Randomization was done at the village level.
Sample: 4,353 individuals.
Findings: Significant increase in business ownership (10%), food consumption (17%) and asset ownership among those offered a group lending product.No effect among those offered an individual lending product. No significant effect on household income. No difference in repayment rates between the two treatment groups.
Attanasio et al (2011)
Although microfinance institutions across the world are moving from group lending towards individual lending, this strategic shift is not substantiated by sufficient empirical evidence on the impact of both types of lending on borrowers. We present such evidence from a randomised field experiment in rural Mongolia. We find a positive impact of access to group loans on food consumption and entrepreneurship. Among households that were offered group loans the likelihood of owning an enterprise increases by 10 per cent more than in control villages. Enterprise profits increase over time as well, particularly for the less educated. For individual lending on the other hand, we detect no significant increase in consumption or enterprise ownership. These results are in line with theories that stress the disciplining effect of group lending: joint liability may deter borrowers from using loans for non-investment purposes. Our results on informal transfers are consistent with this hypothesis. Borrowers in group-lending villages are less likely to make informal transfers to families and friends while borrowers in individual-lending villages are more likely to do so. We find no significant difference in repayment rates between the two lending programmes, neither of which entailed weekly repayment meetings.
Intervention settings: Rural.
Intervention description: Tested opening of MFI branches by assigning group liability loans, Individual loans or having no MFI branch. Group liability and individual credit originally intended for business purposes.
Sample: 1,148 adult women (987 in follow-up) from 40 communities.
Findings: 11% statistically insignificant increase in total per capita expenditures. Positive impact of both group and individual loans on business profits among women clients in areas with access to credit for longer period of time. Positive impact on likelihood of owning enterprise among HH offered a group loan. Group liability loans had positive impact on HH business creation (no impact of individual credit). Credit had positive impact on women's profits in areas with access to credit for longer period of time. No significant impact on self-employment, wage labor or total earnings. No impact on likelihood of owning enterprise among HH offered individual loans or group liability credit on individual credit.
This paper evaluates the outreach and impact of two micro_nance programs in Thailand, controlling for endogenous self-selection and program placement. Results indicate that the wealthier villagers are signi_cantly more likely to participate than the poor. Moreover, the wealthiest often become program committee members and borrow substantially more than rank-and-_le members. However, local information on creditworthiness is also used to select members. The programs positively a_ect household welfare for committee members, but impact is insigni_cant for rank-and-_le members. Policy recommendations include vigilance in targeting the poor, publicly disseminating the program rules and purpose, and introducing and enforcing eligibility criteria.
Intervention settings: Rural/
Intervention description: Credit. Some savings, which may be used to provide loans.
Methodology: Pipeline design, panel data of participating and non-participating HH and moderate robustness.
Sample: 445 households. Most engage in small-scale agriculture (91.3% of women and 90.4% of men surveyed listed farming as primary or secondary occupation).
Findings: Positive impact on savings and business revenues of wealthier women members (no impact on poorer women). Increased business sales among wealthier members (no impact on poorer women). Wealthier women were more likely to participate in village banks than poor women (mistargeting).