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Economic evaluation of gender empowerment programmes with a violence prevention focus: objective empowerment and subjective wellbeing

Ferrari, Giulia (2016) Economic evaluation of gender empowerment programmes with a violence prevention focus: objective empowerment and subjective wellbeing. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Prevalence of intimate partner violence (IPV) is high the world over, and in sub-Saharan Africa, between 30% and 66% of ever-partnered women aged 15 or over have experienced IPV at least once in their lifetime, and 37% on the African continent. Power imbalance in the household and unequal access to resources are often identified as triggers of violence. Microfinance interventions provide women with access to financial resources as well as soft-skills training (MF-plus). Evidence of microfinance’s impact on IPV is still however contradictory, often confined to observational cross-sectional studies, with narrow definitions of IPV, and no clear link with a process of empowerment. This thesis addresses these limitations by (i) analysing data from the randomised control trials (RCTs) of two microfinance and training interventions in sub-Saharan Africa aimed at reducing IPV; (ii) defining a conceptual framework for the analysis of impact that I term eudaimonic utility (EUD) and linking this with empowerment indicators; and (iii) interpreting this evidence with reference to sociological and economic models of IPV. EUD is the self-actualisation component of psychological measures of wellbeing (WB). I derive EUD from the triangulation of the construct of wellbeing I found in the milieu of sub-Saharan African women targeted by one of the interventions, psychological indices of wellbeing, and properties of plural utility functions. It comprises three psychological dimensions: autonomy (deciding for oneself), meaningful relations with others (maintaining mutually supportive and emotionally meaningful relationships) and environmental mastery (ensuring that the external environment is conducive to one’s flourishing). For the analysis of intervention impact, I group empowerment indicators on the basis of the factor analysis associations with EUD dimensions. Impact estimates suggest that women who access MF-plus services gain more control over their own time, experience improvement in proxies of eudaimonia, and experience reduced IPV exposure. Women who trained in negotiation skills in addition to access to financial services experience limited increase in cooperation with their spouses, but no IPV reduction.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2016 Giulia Ferrari
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Sets: Departments > International Development
Supervisor: Weinhold, Diana and Barnett, Tony and Iyengar, Radha

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