Meta-analysis of the impact of microcredit on women’s control over household decisions: Methodological issues and substantive findings

Maren Duvendack, Richard Palmer Jones, Jos Vaessen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Systematic reviews and meta-analysis have risen in popularity in international development to provide evidence on ‘what works’. This paper reports the findings of a meta-analysis to assess the impact of microcredit on women’s control over household spending to illustrate the challenges of conducting meta-analysis in the case of a diverse evidence base. We provide an assessment of methodological quality and present the findings of a meta-analysis. The results suggest that the effect sizes are small. Furthermore, the confidence that we can place in these findings is limited by the high level of heterogeneity within and between studies and the general reliance on non-experimental studies and statistical analyses which are not reported in sufficient detail to enable confident judgement as to their robustness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-96
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Development Effectiveness
Issue number2
Early online date4 Apr 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • meta-analysis
  • microcredit
  • women's empowerment

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