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Are women more credit constrained ? experimental evidence on gender and microenterprise returns

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  • de Mel, Suresh
  • McKenzie, David
  • Woodruff, Christopher

Abstract

This paper analyzes data from a randomized experiment on mean returns to capital in Sri Lankan micro-enterprises. The findings show greater returns among men than among women; indeed, returns were not different from zero for women. The authors explore different explanations for the lower returns among female owners, and find no evidence that the gender gap is explained by differences in ability, risk aversion, or entrepreneurial attitudes. Differential access to unpaid family labor and social constraints limiting sales to local areas are not important. However, there is evidence that women invested grants differently from men. A smaller share of the smaller grants remained in the female-owned enterprises, and men were more likely to spend the grant on working capital and women on equipment. The gender gap is largest when male-dominated sectors are compared with female-dominated sectors, although female returns are lower than male returns even for females working in the same industries as men. The authors examine the heterogeneity of returns to determine whether any group of businesses owned by women benefit from easing capital constraints. The results suggest there is a large group of high-return male owners and a smaller group of poor, high-ability, female owners who might benefit from more access to capital.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4746.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2008
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4746

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Keywords: Access to Finance; Debt Markets; Gender and Health; Economic Theory&Research;

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References

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  1. Akresh, Richard, 2005. "Understanding Pareto Inefficient Intrahousehold Allocations," IZA Discussion Papers 1858, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. David J. McKenzie & Christopher Woodruff, 2006. "Do Entry Costs Provide an Empirical Basis for Poverty Traps? Evidence from Mexican Microenterprises," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55, pages 3-42.
  3. Esther Duflo & Christopher Udry, 2004. "Intrahousehold Resource Allocation in Cote d'Ivoire: Social Norms, Separate Accounts and Consumption Choices," NBER Working Papers 10498, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Simeon Djankov & Edward Miguel & Yingyi Qian & Gérard Roland & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2005. "Who are Russia's Entrepreneurs?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 587-597, 04/05.
  5. Markus Goldstein & Christopher Udry, 2008. "The Profits of Power: Land Rights and Agricultural Investment in Ghana," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(6), pages 981-1022, December.
  6. Jonathan Morduch, 1999. "The Microfinance Promise," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1569-1614, December.
  7. McPherson, Michael A., 1996. "Growth of micro and small enterprises in southern Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 253-277, March.
  8. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2011. "Financial Literacy and Planning: Implications for Retirement Wellbeing," NBER Working Papers 17078, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. de Mel, Suresh & McKenzie, David & Woodruff, Christopher, 2007. "Returns to Capital in Microenterprises: Evidence from a Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 2934, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. de Mel, Suresh & McKenzie, David J. & Woodruff, Christopher, 2009. "Measuring microenterprise profits: Must we ask how the sausage is made?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 19-31, January.
  11. Udry, Christopher, 1996. "Gender, Agricultural Production, and the Theory of the Household," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 1010-46, October.
  12. Esther Duflo, 2003. "Grandmothers and Granddaughters: Old-Age Pensions and Intrahousehold Allocation in South Africa," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(1), pages 1-25, June.
  13. Shahidur R. Khandker, 1998. "Using Microcredit to Advance Women," World Bank Other Operational Studies 11523, The World Bank.
  14. Kevane, Michael & Wydick, Bruce, 2001. "Microenterprise Lending to Female Entrepreneurs: Sacrificing Economic Growth for Poverty Alleviation?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(7), pages 1225-1236, July.
  15. de Mel, Suresh & McKenzie, David & Woodruff, Christopher, 2007. "Measuring microenterprise profits : don't ask how the sausage is made," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4229, The World Bank.
  16. Fajnzylber, Pablo & Maloney, William F. & Montes-Rojas, Gabriel V., 2009. "Does Formality Improve Micro-Firm Performance? Quasi-Experimental Evidence from the Brazilian SIMPLES Program," IZA Discussion Papers 4531, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  17. Mead, Donald C. & Liedholm, Carl, 1998. "The dynamics of micro and small enterprises in developing countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 61-74, January.
  18. David McKenzie & Christopher Woodruff, 2008. "Experimental Evidence on Returns to Capital and Access to Finance in Mexico," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 22(3), pages 457-482, November.
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  1. Dads and Development
    by David McKenzie in Development Impact on 2012-06-17 18:47:07
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