In this paper, we develop a theoretical model of household production, bargaining and credit to analyse how access to microcredit affects intra-household decision-making and welfare, and identify conditions under which female household members are most likely to benefit. We show that, consistent with ethnographic accounts of the impact of microcredit programmes on poor households, access to loans can lead to a variety of outcomes for intra-household decision-making and welfare depending on initial conditions and that, in some instances, women borrowers may experience a decline in welfare. We identify two instances in which a woman is most likely to benefit: when there is scope for investing the loan profitably in a joint activity, and when a large share of the household budget is devoted to household public goods. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
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