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About us Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences Psychology Research Units Social Psychology

The development of empowerment through access to microfinance services

Social Psychology

Microfinance services (loan and training) in low income countries aim to support and increase emancipation of those in disadvantaged positions, especially women. However, studies revealed only weak, no, or even negative emancipatory effects such as relational conflict and increased intimate partner violence against women. The current research sets out to systematically investigate how access to microfinance (microloan & credit) can overcome these negative effects and improve the position of women within the family and the society. This project includes systematic qualitative research to gain insights in the relational friction and conflicts female borrowers experience at home, development of business training components for female borrowers and their husband and test their effectiveness in short experiments, and longitudinal field experiments with respect to female empowerment. Furthermore, we study cultural differences in women’s empowerment.

Main project

This project is part of project "Cultural change driven by modernization".

Researchers and partners

Behavioural and Social Sciences, Psychology
  • Marloes Huis, Social Psychology
  • Sabine Otten, Social Psychology
University of Groningen, outside of Behavioural and Socials Sciences
  • Robert Lensink (Department of Economics, Econometrics and Finance, Faculty of Economics and Business)


Courses connected to this project
  • Cultural Psychology (PSMSB-12, GMCSIB15)
  • Guest lectures in other Masters (e.g., Master in International Humanitarian Action)


  • Hansen, N., & Postmes, T. (2013). Broadening the scope of societal change research: Psychological and political impacts of development aid. Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 1(1), 273–292. doi:10.5964/jspp.v1i1.15
  • Hansen, N. (2015). The development of psychological capacity for action. The empowering effect of a microfinance programme on women in Sri Lanka. Journal of Social Issues, 71(3), 597-613. doi: 10.1111/josi.12130
Successful grant proposals and other achievements
  • A projected was funded by Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in Sri Lanka

University's focus areas

  • Sustainable Society
Last modified:29 March 2021 10.17 a.m.
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