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Abstract

This paper shows that participation in a community-level female empowerment program in India significantly increases access to employment, physical mobility, and political participation. The program provides support groups, literacy camps, adult education classes, and vocational training. We use truncation-corrected matching and instrumental variables on primary data to disentangle the program's mechanisms, separately considering its effect on women who work, and those who do not work but whose reservation wage is increased by participation. We also find significant spillover effects on non-participants relative to women in untreated districts. Using instrumental variables and matching, we find consistent estimates for average treatment and intent to treat effects.

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