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Credit Programs For The Poor And The Health Status Of Children In Rural Bangladesh

Omar Haider Chowdhury, Shahidur R. Khandker, Daniel L. Millimet, Mark M. Pitt
Published 2003 · Economics

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The impact of participation in group-based credit programs, by gender of participant, on the health status of children by gender in rural Bangladesh is investigated. These credit programs are well suited to studies of how genderspecific resources alter intra-household allocations because they induce differential participation by gender. Women’s credit is found to have a large and statistically significant impact on two of three measures of the healthiness of both boy and girl children. Credit provided to men has no statistically significant impact and the null hypothesis of equal credit effects by gender of participant is rejected. This article examines the effect of additional resources supplied to and controlled by women, as compared to men, on child health outcomes, by gender of child. The source of these additional resources is group-based credit programs for the poor in rural Bangladesh. These credit programs are well suited to studying how gender-specific resources alter intra-household allocations because they induce differential participation by gender through the requirement that only one adult member per household can participate in any micro-credit program. This article thus contributes to the growing literature in which joint family decisions are derived from the possibly divergent interests of husbands and wives. The empirical literature has suggested that a mother’s relative control over resources importantly alters the human capital of her children; specifically that children seem to be better off when their mothers control relatively more of their family’s resources. Some of this literature has used the relative earnings of mothers and fathers to indicate control over resources. The endogeneity of earnings makes any
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