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Constructing and reconstructing gender: Reference group effects and women's demand for entrepreneurial capital

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  • Fletschner, Diana
  • Carter, Michael R.

Abstract

Women's acquisition of entrepreneurial capital may be restricted by demand side identity constraints as women who pursue non-traditional entrepreneurial livelihoods may stand at odds with activity-regulating social norms. By explicitly incorporating social norms into a model of women's decision-making, this paper provides an analytical framework that helps understand the social factors that limit women's demand for capital. The model shows that because of these social effects, a credit program that relaxes supply constraints may reconstruct gender norms and have a social multiplier effect, shifting an entire group or community to a higher-income equilibrium. Using a social effects econometric framework, the paper then confirms the existence of reference group effects on women's demand for entrepreneurial capital in rural Paraguay. Identification of these as endogenous social effects relies on the separate measurement of each woman's social reference group, allowing the use of village-level fixed effects to sweep away confounding contextual influences. Results are robust to the use of a restricted reference group comprised solely of 'inherited' family members, and analysis of demand by male partners reveals that the social effect is gendered and hence likely to reflect social norm effects rather than endogenous social learning or exogenous social effects.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics).

Volume (Year): 37 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 672-693

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Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:37:y:2008:i:2:p:672-693

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620175

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Cited by:
  1. Dufhues, Thomas & Buchenrieder, Gertrud & Munkung, Nuchanata, 2012. "Individual social capital and access to formal credit in Thailand," 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil 123401, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  2. Fletschner, Diana, 2009. "Rural Women's Access to Credit: Market Imperfections and Intrahousehold Dynamics," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 618-631, March.
  3. Fletschner, Diana & Mesbah, Dina, 2011. "Gender Disparity in Access to Information: Do Spouses Share What They Know?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(8), pages 1422-1433, August.
  4. Dufhues, Thomas & Buchenrieder, Gertrud & Quoc, Hoang Dinh & Munkung, Nuchanata, 2011. "Social capital and loan repayment performance in Southeast Asia," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 679-691.
  5. World Bank, 2012. "A Gender (R)evolution in the Making? Expanding Women's Economic Opportunities in Central America : A Decade in Review," World Bank Other Operational Studies 12468, The World Bank.
  6. Angela Hung & Joanne Yoong & Elizabeth Brown, 2012. "Empowering Women Through Financial Awareness and Education," OECD Working Papers on Finance, Insurance and Private Pensions 14, OECD Publishing.

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