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Female Agency and Collective Action: What Determines the Intensity of Participation? A Case Study from a Joint-Microfinance and Coffee Cooperative in the Mountains of the Moon, Western Uganda

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: zu Selhausen, Felix Meier
Conference: Design and Dynamics of Institutions for Collective Action: A Tribute to Prof. Elinor Ostrom, Second Thematic Conference of the IASC
Location: Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
Conf. Date: 29 November - 1 December
Date: 2012
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/8622
Sector: Social Organization
Region: Africa
Subject(s): cooperatives
participatory development
Abstract: "Collective action has become an important strategy for rural women in developing countries to access both financial services and markets. However, within self-help groups the intensity of participation and commitment can vary given the different motivations, perceived benefits and trust into collective action. Using household data of female members of a Ugandan coffee and microfinance cooperative I investigate whether (1) women's decision-making agency, (2) individual characteristics and (3) group characteristics determine the intensity of participation in the group-based cooperative. Its uses number of shares per member as proxy for participation and commitment in the institution for collective action. The results suggest that women's decision-making agency, spousal household cooperation, level of income, literacy, length of membership, and trust between members are necessary factors for the intensity in women's efforts to participate within the cooperative. Increased participation can function as an important catalysts, as women are likely to gain to more bargaining power."

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