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

By Nava Ashraf, Dean Karlan and Wesley Yin

Abstract

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 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.Savings, Microfinance, Female empowerment, Household decision making, Commitment

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