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

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  • Isabelle Agier
  • Ariane Szafarz

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

Paper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series ULB Institutional Repository with number 2013/149090.

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Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in: World development (2013) v.42,p.165-181
Handle: RePEc:ulb:ulbeco:2013/149090

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

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References

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  1. 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.
  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. Borghans, Lex & Golsteyn, Bart H.H. & Heckman, James J. & Meijers, Huub, 2009. "Gender Differences in Risk Aversion and Ambiguity Aversion," IZA Discussion Papers 3985, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Armendáriz, Beatriz & Szafarz, Ariane, 2011. "On mission drift in microfinance institutions," MPRA Paper 31041, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2010.
  5. Bellucci, Andrea & Borisov, Alexander & Zazzaro, Alberto, 2010. "Does gender matter in bank-firm relationships? Evidence from small business lending," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(12), pages 2968-2984, December.
  6. 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.
  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. Ariane Szafarz, 2008. "An Alternative to Statistical Discrimination," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/14329, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  9. 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.
  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. 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.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Isabelle Agier & Ariane Szafarz, 2013. "Subjectivity in Credit Allocation to Micro-Entrepreneurs: Evidence from Brazil," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/148889, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Simon Cornée & Ariane Szafarz, 2012. "Vive la Différence: Social Banks and Reciprocity in the Credit Market," Working Papers CEB 12-029, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  7. D’Espallier, Bert & Hudon, Marek & Szafarz, Ariane, 2013. "Unsubsidized microfinance institutions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 120(2), pages 174-176.
  8. 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.
  9. Anastasia Cozarenco & Ariane Szafarz, 2013. "Female Access to Credit in France: How Microfinance Institutions Import Disparate Treatment from Banks," AMSE Working Papers 1350, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Marseille, France, revised Dec 2013.
  10. 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.
  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. 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.
  13. Schicks, Jessica, 2014. "Over-Indebtedness in Microfinance – An Empirical Analysis of Related Factors on the Borrower Level," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 301-324.
  14. 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.

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