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Microfinance and Gender: Is There a Glass Ceiling on Loan Size?

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  • Agier, Isabelle
  • Szafarz, Ariane

Abstract

Most of the customers of microfinance institutions are female. But do men and women benefit from the same credit conditions? We investigate this issue by presenting an original model and testing its predictions on an exceptional database comprising 34,000 loan applications from a Brazilian microfinance institution. The model determines the optimal loan size fixed by a gender-biased lender, depending on the borrower’s creditworthiness and the intensity of the lender’s bias. The empirical analysis detects no gender bias in loan denial, but uncovers disparate treatment with regard to credit conditions. In particular, we find a “glass ceiling” effect. The gender gap in loan size increases disproportionately with respect to the scale of the borrower’s project. The results are insensitive to the loan officer’s gender.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Development.

Volume (Year): 42 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 165-181

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Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:42:y:2013:i:c:p:165-181

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/worlddev

Related research

Keywords: microcredit; microfinance; gender discrimination; women entrepreneurs; Latin America; Brazil;

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References

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  1. Lex Borghans & Bart H. H. Golsteyn & James J. Heckman & Huub Meijers, 2009. "Gender Differences in Risk Aversion and Ambiguity Aversion," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 649-658, 04-05.
  2. Alberto F. Alesina & Francesca Lotti & Paolo Emilio Mistrulli, 2008. "Do Women Pay More for Credit? Evidence from Italy," NBER Working Papers 14202, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Blanchard, Lloyd & Zhao, Bo & Yinger, John, 2008. "Do lenders discriminate against minority and woman entrepreneurs?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 467-497, March.
  4. Andrea Bellucci & Alexander V. Borisov & Alberto Zazzaro, 2009. "Does Gender Matter in Bank-Firm Relationships? Evidence from Small Business Lending," Mo.Fi.R. Working Papers 31, Money and Finance Research group (Mo.Fi.R.) - Univ. Politecnica Marche - Dept. Economic and Social Sciences.
  5. Marcella Corsi & Fabrizio Botti & Tommaso Rondinella & Giulia Zacchia, 2006. "Women and Microfinance in Mediterranean Countries," Development, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 49(2), pages 67-74, June.
  6. Beatriz Armendariz & Ariane Szafarz, 2011. "On Mission Drift in Microfinance Institutions," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/97387, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  7. Steven B. Caudill & Daniel M. Gropper & Valentina Hartarska, 2009. "Which Microfinance Institutions Are Becoming More Cost Effective with Time? Evidence from a Mixture Model," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(4), pages 651-672, 06.
  8. Marc Labie & Pierre-Guillaume Méon & Roy Mersland & Ariane Szafarz, 2010. "Discrimination by Microcredit Officers: Theory and Evidence on Disability in Uganda," Working Papers CEB 10-007.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  9. Christian E. Weller, 2008. "Credit Access, the Costs of Credit and Credit Market Discrimination," Working Papers wp171, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
  10. Helena Marrez & Mathias Schmit, 2009. "Credit risk analysis in microcredit: How does gender matter?," Working Papers CEB 09-053.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  11. Ariane Szafarz, 2008. "An Alternative to Statistical Discrimination," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/14329, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Anastasia Cozarenco & Ariane Szafarz, 2013. "Female Access to Credit in France: How Microfinance Institutions Import Disparate Treatment from Banks," Working Papers halshs-00874448, HAL.
  2. Jessica Schicks, 2012. "Over-Indebtedness in Microfinance – An Empirical Analysis of Related Factors on the Borrower Level," Working Papers CEB 12-017, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  3. Koen Rossel-Cambier, 2010. "Do Multiple Financial Services Enhance the Poverty Outreach of Microfinance Institutions?," Working Papers CEB 10-058, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  4. Simon Cornée, 2014. "Soft Information and Default Prediction in Cooperative and Social Banks," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 201402, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
  5. Isabelle Agier & Ariane Szafarz, 2011. "Subjectivity in Credit Allocation to Micro-Entrepreneurs: Evidence from Brazil," Working Papers CEB 11-016, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  6. Bert D'Espallier & Marek Hudon & Ariane Szafarz, 2013. "Unsubsidized Microfinance Institutions," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/148890, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  7. Aggarwal, Raj & Goodell, John, 2013. "Lending to women in microfinance: influence of social trust and national culture Lending to women in microfinance: influence of social trust and national culture," Working Paper 1317, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  8. Claudia Piras & Andrea Filippo Presbitero & Roberta Rabellotti, 2013. "Definitions Matter: Measuring Gender Gaps in Firms' Access to Credit," Mo.Fi.R. Working Papers 90, Money and Finance Research group (Mo.Fi.R.) - Univ. Politecnica Marche - Dept. Economic and Social Sciences.
  9. Beatriz Armendariz & Bert D'Espallier & Marek Hudon & Ariane Szafarz, 2011. "Subsidy Uncertainty and Microfinance Mission Drift," Working Papers CEB 11-014, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  10. Simon Cornée & Ariane Szafarz, 2013. "Vive la Différence: Social Banks and Reciprocity in the Credit Market," Post-Print halshs-00874615, HAL.
  11. D'Espallier, Bert & Guérin, Isabelle & Mersland, Roy, 2011. "Women and Repayment in Microfinance: A Global Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 758-772, May.
  12. Koen Rossel-Cambier, 2011. "Is Combined Microfinance an Instrument to enhance Sustainable Pro-Poor Public Policy Outcomes?," Working Papers CEB 11-013, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  13. Weber, Ron & Musshoff, Oliver, 2012. "Microfinance for agricultural firms - What can we learn from bank data?," 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil 126708, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  14. Isabelle Agier & Ariane Szafarz, 2011. "Credit to Women Entrepreneurs: The Curse of the Trustworthier Sex," Working Papers CEB 11-005, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.

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