Jeevika Livelihoods Project, Phase 1 - One Round "Retrospective" Evaluation. Household Survey Data 2011
Socio-Economic Effects of a Self-Help Group Intervention: Evidence from Bihar, India
This is a one period survey with retrospective questions of changes on changes over time, collected to do a "quick" evaluation of Phase 1 of the Jeevika Project Bihar. Collaboration: World Bank Social Observatory Team with Government of Bihar.
This current research may be viewed as a pilot of a much more comprehensive ‘multi-disciplinary’ evaluation design which is now underway at JEEViKA. Thus, following the completion of this survey in early 2011, a baseline survey was conducted in 180 panchayats, located in 17 blocks of 6 districts of Bihar in mid to late 2011. After the analysis of the baseline data, JEEViKA rolled out randomly to 90 ‘treatment’ panchayats. Allied to the design of the Randomized Control Trial, an in-depth qualitative study of 12 villages (part of the 180 panchayats) was also commissioned to look at the intervention timeline and the process of change in the villages. Finally, a behavioral study is also underway to tease out the intra and inter household effects of creating a platform to raise demand, among households and women who have otherwise faced vicious marginalization. This basket of evaluation designs is a direct outcome of the current research, which pointed out the severe restrictions that a solely quantitative approach has in understanding projects of such complexity.
Poverty reduction via formation of community based organizations is a popular approach in regions of high socio-economic marginalization, especially in South Asia. The shortage of evidence on the impacts of such an approach is an outcome of the complexity of these projects, which almost always have a multi-sectoral design to achieve a comprehensive basket of aims. In the current research, we consider results from a rural livelihoods program in Bihar, one of India’s poorest states. Adopting a model prevalent in several Indian states, the Bihar Rural Livelihoods Project, known locally as JEEViKA, relies on mobilizing women from impoverished, socially marginalized households into Self Help Groups. Simultaneously, activities such as micro-finance and technical assistance for agricultural livelihoods are taken up by the project and routed to the beneficiaries via these institutions; these institutions also serve as a platform for women to come together and discuss a multitude of the socio-economic problems that they face. We use a retrospective survey instrument, coupled with PSM techniques to find that JEEViKA, has engendered some significant results in restructuring the debt portfolio of these households; additionally, JEEViKA has been instrumental in providing women with higher levels of empowerment, as measured by various dimensions.
In the current research, we consider a multi-sectoral approach which closely resembles the APDPIP design. We take a close look at the impacts of a rural poverty reduction program in Bihar, one of India’s poorest states. This program JEEViKA, focusses on building Self Help Groups (SHGs) of marginalized women; these groups are then federated into higher order institutions of such women at the village and local level. Cheap credit for a variety of purposes, technical assistance for various livelihood activities and encouraging awareness about various public services are the key agendas of this program. However, due to the very nature of JEEViKA’s target population, and given Bihar’s vicious income and gender inequality, the potential for impacts on women’s empowerment exists. A retrospective survey instrument, coupled with ‘Propensity Score Matching’ methods are used to estimate the impacts.
The results from the survey point out that JEEViKA has played an instrumental role in restructuring the debt portfolio of beneficiary households; households that have SHG members have a significantly lower high cost debt burden, are able to access smaller loans repeatedly and borrow more often for productive purposes, when compared to households without SHG members. Since JEEViKA works by mobilizing marginalized women into institutional platforms, such women demonstrate higher levels of empowerment, when empowerment is measured by mobility, decision making and collective action. Finally, we see some effects on the asset positions, food security and sanitation preferences of beneficiary households. It is worth pointing out here that the extent and significance of the results on debt portfolio and empowerment are robust to various matching modules and various specifications of the matched sample. The results on the other dimensions are subject to specifications or matching modules.
This brings out to the point about the timeline of these interventions and the materialization of impacts. In the context of such iterative, multi-sectoral poverty reduction approach, a well_x0002_designed research question must be able to identify the goals that a project should have achieved, given the time-line of that evaluation; the extent of such achievements are only a part of the evaluation agenda. The short review provided above provides some clues that a regular evaluation horizon of 2/3 years may be insufficient time to observe higher order effects, especially since actual benefits happen only after poor are mobilized into institutions and institutions are federated into higher-order institutions; indeed, the village-level institution, the Village Organization, which is made of 15 SHGs on an average, becomes functional 8-10 months after JEEViKA enters a village for the first time. The retrospective nature of the survey instrument also rules out any meaningful comparison of consumption or income levels between treatment and control areas.
Unit of Analysis
- v2.1: Edited, anonymous dataset for public distribution.
Section 8: Woman’s Module - Captures social indicators attempting to capture changes in women’s empowerment focused on women’s mobility, decision making and networks.
Section 9: SHG Membership Information
Section 10: Interviewer Observations
Producers and sponsors
World Bank Social Observatory Team
The World Bank
Government of Bihar
JEEViKA Project Team
The survey was administered to 10 randomly selected households from the target hamlets in all 200 project and 200 non-project villages; we can assume that had caste compositions changed significantly since 2001 in either the selected project or non-project villages, this should be reflected in the sample statistics. It is to be noted that the survey team did not have a beneficiary list for the treatment villages; thus the selection of interviewed HHs were truly random, and not a sample of beneficiary HHs only. The details on the questionnaire and selection of villages to survey are discussed at greater lengths in the Section 3 of the survey report - Data & Identification Strategy. The report is available for download under the Downloads section.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
An identical survey instrument covering several broad areas on socio-economic indicators was administered to each of the 4000 households. The instrument had two broad modules; the general module was administered to a responsible adult (preferably HH head), and the women’s module was administered to an ever married adult woman. The general module collected economic information focused on asset ownership, debt portfolio, land holdings, savings habit and food security condition; social indicators attempting to capture changes in women’s empowerment focused on women’s mobility, decision making and networks were part of the women’s module. The demographic profile of each household was captured by an appropriate household roster and caste-religion profile; in addition, a livelihood roster was also administered. Given the retrospective nature of the study, questions on certain indicators were designed to capture the levels at end 2007, along with the current level. However for other indicators, like debt portfolio, questions for end 2007 levels were not asked since the chances for incorrect responses are considerable.
Use of the dataset must be acknowledged using a citation which would include:
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- the title of the survey (including country, acronym and year of implementation)
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World Bank. India - Jeevika Livelihoods Project, Phase 1 - One Round "Retrospective" Evaluation. Household Survey Data 2011, Socio-Economic Effects of a Self-Help Group Intervention: Evidence from Bihar, India (JRETRO 2011). Ref: IND_2011_JRETRO-P1_v01_M. Downloaded from [uri] on [date].
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The user of the data acknowledges that the original collector of the data, the authorized distributor of the data, and the relevant funding agency bear no responsibility for use of the data or for interpretations or inferences based upon such uses.