Female Empowerment: Impact of a Commitment Savings Product in the Philippines

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.

Ashraf, Karlan, and Yin (2007)Unknown.RCT.Individual commitment savings product provided by a rural bank. Account matures only when a pre-specified goal is reached. Savings training.Consumption of durables associated with women increased only among married women who started below the median level of decision-making power.http://ideas.repec.org/p/cgd/wpaper/106.html3,125 bank clients and non-clients (60% women and most married).