, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 267-282

Savings/credit group formation and change in contraception

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We examine the characteristics of women who chose to join a women’s savings or credit group organized by Save the Children USA in a rural area of Bangladesh, and the impact of participation on contraceptive use. The data are taken from a panel survey conducted in 1993, shortly before the groups were formed, and in 1995 after interventions began. Our findings show that although demographic and socioeconomic characteristics have only a weak relationship to the decision to join a program, the treatment that a woman receives from her husband is associated with participation. We also find evidence that the credit program tends to attract women who are already using contraception. The analysis of program impact on the use of modern contraceptives reveals a positive effect of the credit program, after we adjust for this selectivity; we see no evidence of an effect of participation in a savings group.

The authors would like to thank Save the Children USA for its permission to use the Empowerment Survey data. The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of Save the Children or its funding agencies. Thanks are also due to the anonymous referees for their very helpful comments on earlier versions of this paper.