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Micro-finance and women’s perception of domestic violence in a fragile state

Martin Limbikani Mwale, Gowokani Chirwa (), Martina Mchenga and Tayamika Kamwanja Zabula

World Development Perspectives, 2021, vol. 24, issue C

Abstract: The impact of microfinance on women’s perception of domestic violence has not been rigorously investigated in fragile states of sub-Saharan Africa, but results from elsewhere indicate a missing consensus. An innovative microfinance in Sierra Leone known as Osusu, has unique features that make reduction in acceptance of domestic violence more likely. This paper employs propensity scores matching design on 2948 women from Sierra Leone. The data was obtained from a unique dataset that we constructed by merging information from the same individuals interviewed in two independent and nationally representative studies, the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, and the Integrated Household Survey. Our results indicate that participation in a micro-fiance scheme, Osusu, reduces acceptance of domestic violence amongst women. The relationship between Osusu and domestic violence is robust on; reducing acceptance of acts of beating a wife if she does not undertake household responsibilities such as neglecting children and burning food, while acts related to couple accountability such as going out without telling her husband, arguing with him, and refusing sex are non-responsive to Osusu membership. The paper explored entrepreneurship as one of the transmission mechanisms for the impact of micro-credit on domestic violence. Participation in the scheme increases the probability of owning a business. Our results suggest that policies that increase access to microfinance amongst women have the potential to reduce domestic violence through empowering women to establish businesses. Further, microfinance needs to be coupled with legal and institutional support for women to reduce all forms of domestic violence, including those that are non-responsive to such micro-finance interventions as Osusu.

Keywords: Domestic violence; Microfinance; Osusu; Fragile state; Sierra Leone (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A13 C78 D10 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.wdp.2021.100374

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