We Can Manage: Experimental Evidence From Savings Groups in Uganda
A new paper published in the Journal of African Economies shows that village savings and loan field experiments increased economic and social empowerment and general well-being. Paper by Kjetil Bjorvatn and Bertil Tungodden.
Village savings and loans associations (VSLAs) are promoted as an important tool for economic and social empowerment, primarily targeting women. However, there is relatively limited evidence on the impact of VSLAs, and no evidence on whether such programs work better for some groups than for others. Using a large-scale field experiment on a VSLA targeting people with disabilities in Uganda, we document positive effects of the program on economic empowerment, social empowerment and general well-being. The effects are overall somewhat stronger for the male participants, and in particular we find no evidence of social empowerment for women. Our findings suggest that VSLAs can be an important tool for improving the situation also for economically active persons with disabilities, but that additional measures need to be implemented to achieve a more comprehensive empowerment of women.