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Essays on Gender and Microfinance

Author: Shagata Mukherjee
Publisher: ScholarWorks @ Georgia State University 2017-08-08T07:00:00Z
Dissertation: Thesis / Dissertation ETD
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation
Summary:
This dissertation consists of three essays exploring the heterogeneity of gender differences in behavior across contrasting societies. Are women naturally wired to behave differently than men or is it the social context in which the gender roles operate that motivate their behavior? I study this question in the contexts of risk, trust, and trustworthiness, moral hazard and repayment behavior in microfinance. I use  Read more...
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Genre/Form: text
Material Type: Thesis/dissertation
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Shagata Mukherjee
OCLC Number: 1003121748
Notes: application/pdf

Abstract:

This dissertation consists of three essays exploring the heterogeneity of gender differences in behavior across contrasting societies. Are women naturally wired to behave differently than men or is it the social context in which the gender roles operate that motivate their behavior? I study this question in the contexts of risk, trust, and trustworthiness, moral hazard and repayment behavior in microfinance. I use the approach of conducting controlled field experiments in neighboring matrilineal and patrilineal societies in rural India. The two societies differ in gender roles but are comparable otherwise. Understanding the societal and cultural factors that drive gender differences in behavior helps to prescribe optimally-targeted policy designs. The first essay evaluates the universal policy of gender targeting to mitigate microfinance loan defaults and studies the reasons for such gender differences in default. I design and conduct microfinance field experiments with individual and group liability treatments in comparable matrilineal and patrilineal societies in India. I observe a reversal of gender effect on loan default across the two societies. I find that women have a lower default in the patrilineal society but higher default in the matrilineal society compared to their male counterparts. I also find that group liability leads to moral hazard among the individual group members but reduces overall default due to risk sharing among them. My results suggest that while women are better clients on average, a universal policy of gender targeting to reduce defaults in microfinance might be suboptimal. The second essay builds on the findings of the first essay that group liability contracts lead to moral hazard among the borrowers. In this essay, I evaluate the policy of gender targeting to mitigate moral hazard problems in microfinance and study the underlying reasons for such gender differences in moral hazard. I address this question by following a similar method

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