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Sex and Credit: Is There a Gender Bias in Microfinance?

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  • Beck, T.H.L.
  • Behr, P.
  • Madestam, A.

    (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)

Abstract

This paper examines the effects of group identity in the credit market. Exploiting the quasirandom assignment of first-time borrowers to loan officers of a large Albanian lender, we test for own-gender bias in the loan officer-borrower match. We find that borrowers pay on average 29 basis points higher interest rates when paired with a loan officer of the other sex. The results indicate the presence of a taste-based rather than a statistical bias, as borrowers’ likelihood of going into arrears is independent of loan officer gender. Ending up with an opposite-sex loan officer also affects demand for credit, with borrowers being 11.5 percent less likely to return for a second loan. The bias is more pronounced when the social distance, as proxied by difference in age between the loan officer and the borrower, increases and when financial market competition declines. This is consistent with theories that predict a tastebased bias to be stronger when the psychological costs of being biased are lower and the discretion in setting interest rates is higher. Taken together, the findings suggest that owngender preferences can have substantial welfare effects.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research in its series Discussion Paper with number 2011-101.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:kubcen:2011101

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Web page: http://center.uvt.nl

Related research

Keywords: Identity; interest rates; gender; loan officers; microfinance;

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References

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  1. Munnell, Alicia H. & Geoffrey M. B. Tootell & Lynn E. Browne & James McEneaney, 1996. "Mortgage Lending in Boston: Interpreting HMDA Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 25-53, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Elmas Yaldiz Hanedar & Eleonora Broccardo & Flavio Bazzana, 2012. "Collateral Requirements of SMEs:The Evidence from Less–Developed Countries," Centro Studi di Banca e Finanza (CEFIN) (Center for Studies in Banking and Finance) 12111, Universita di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Facoltà di Economia "Marco Biagi".
  2. 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.
  3. Aterido, Reyes & Beck, Thorsten & Iacovone, Leonardo, 2011. "Gender and finance in Sub-Saharan Africa : are women disadvantaged ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5571, The World Bank.
  4. Suparna Chakraborty, 2014. "Laws, attitudes and financial inclusion of women: A cross-country investigation," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 34(1), pages 333-353.
  5. Aterido, Reyes & Beck, Thorsten & Iacovone, Leonardo, 2013. "Access to Finance in Sub-Saharan Africa: Is There a Gender Gap?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 102-120.

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