Economic and Empowerment Impacts of Millet Processing and Value
Addition Enterprises by Women SHGs in Tribal Areas of Odisha

Knowledge GapFor the implementing agency/ other key decisionmakers/local/global community as relevant

We see a critical knowledge gap in determining whether and to what extent millet processing enterprises can improve women’s decision-making authority within the household and other household welfare such as income, nutrition, child education, etc. Engaging the poor in livelihood programs through women SHGs is a widely used strategy by governments and NGOs in India. However, these projects have typically not been implemented in such a way as to facilitate a rigorous evaluation of their impacts. Both SHGs and millet enterprises are women-centric activities and based on women collectives. Although women collectives bring social capital it is not very clear if the capacity of SHGs is a factor for a successful enterprise.

This rigorous study will add to a very few existing evaluations (Desai and Joshi 2013; Deininger and Liu 2013) on the evidence of off-farm livelihood intervention with SHGs. Our research also adds to the body of evidence on the effectiveness of SHGs in improving women’s economic, political, and social empowerment (Deininger & Liu, 2009; Deininger & Liu, 2013a; Deininger & Liu, 2013b; Swain & Kumaran, 2012; Desai & Joshi, 2014).

We combine behavioral experiments- drawn from the psychology and behavioral economics literature– with an RCT, allowing us to directly link heterogeneous treatment effects with typically unobservable preferences, attitudes, and beliefs. The experiments we will employ allow us to directly measure SHG member’s attitudes towards enterprise, risk-taking capacity, and subjective beliefs, all of which may be relevant for the resultant impacts on household welfare. We use these measures as explanatory variables to account for heterogeneity in the impact of millet enterprises and contribute to the literature by investigating which behavioral pathways help materialized the impacts. Our study will fill in this research gap and contribute to a better understanding of the impact of millet processing among women in SHGs.