Community Networks and Poverty Reduction Programmes: Evidence from Bangladesh

35 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2010

See all articles by Oriana Bandiera

Oriana Bandiera

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Robin Burgess

London School of Economics (LSE) - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Selim Gulesci

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD)

Imran Rasul

University College London - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: December 2009

Abstract

Whether basic entrepreneurship can be inculcated amongst the poorest in society and serve as a route out of poverty remains an open question. We provide evidence on this issue by looking at the effects of a large-scale asset transfer and training programme which is targeted at the poorest women in rural Bangladesh. We use a randomized control trial research design, and survey all households in the community. This allows us to map the full social network of the beneficiaries, on multiple dimensions of interaction. We find that beneficiaries' wealth levels and occupational structure converge to that of lower-middle class households. Beneficiaries use their newly found wealth to purchase household durables, and improve their human capital, as measured by business skills and their health status. We find the programme affects the composition of beneficiary households' networks: they form ties to wealthier residents after the programme. The programme also affects outcomes among social network members, but has no effect on households that are not socially connected to beneficiaries. Our findings suggest that such programs have effects beyond beneficiary households, and that the network structures and outcomes in targeted communities are transformed by them.

JEL Classification: D85, O12, O15

Suggested Citation

Bandiera, Oriana and Burgess, Robin and Gulesci, Selim and Rasul, Imran, Community Networks and Poverty Reduction Programmes: Evidence from Bangladesh (December 2009). LSE STICERD Research Paper No. EOPP015, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1717447

Oriana Bandiera (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD) ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
+44 20 7955 7519 (Phone)
+44 20 7055 6951 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Robin Burgess

London School of Economics (LSE) - Department of Economics ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://econ.lse.ac.uk/staff/rburgess/index_own.html

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Selim Gulesci

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD) ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Imran Rasul

University College London - Department of Economics ( email )

Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom
+44 20 7679 5853 (Phone)
+44 20 7916 2775 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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