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Are Women More Credit Constrained? Experimental Evidence on Gender and Microenterprise Returns

Author

Listed:
  • Suresh de Mel
  • David McKenzie
  • Christopher Woodruff

Abstract

We report on a field experiment providing random grants to microenterprise owners. The grants generated large profit increases for male owners but not for female owners. We show that the gender gap does not simply mask differences in ability, risk aversion, entrepreneurial attitudes, or differences in reporting behavior, but there is some evidence that the gender gap is larger in female-dominated industries. The data are not consistent with a unitary household model, and imply an inefficiency of resource allocation within households. We show evidence that this inefficiency is reduced in more cooperative households. (JEL D13, D14, J16, L25, L26, O12, O16)

Suggested Citation

  • Suresh de Mel & David McKenzie & Christopher Woodruff, 2009. "Are Women More Credit Constrained? Experimental Evidence on Gender and Microenterprise Returns," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(3), pages 1-32, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:1:y:2009:i:3:p:1-32
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.1.3.1
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. McKenzie, David J & Woodruff, Christopher, 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(1), pages 3-42, October.
    2. 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.
    3. Shahidur R. Khandker, 1998. "Using Microcredit to Advance Women," World Bank Other Operational Studies 11523, The World Bank.
    4. 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.
    5. Esther Duflo & Christopher Udry, 2003. "Intrahousehold Resource Allocation in Côte D'ivoire: Social Norms, Separate Accounts and Consumption Choices," Working Papers 857, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    6. Suresh de Mel & David McKenzie & Christopher Woodruff, 2009. "Returns to Capital in Microenterprises: Evidence from a Field Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(1), pages 423-423.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. repec:adr:anecst:y:1993:i:29 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. 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).
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. François Bourguignon & Martin Browning & Pierre-André Chiappori & Valérie Lechene, 1993. "Intra Household Allocation of Consumption: A Model and some Evidence from French Data," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 29, pages 137-156.
    14. Annamarie Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2005. "Financial Literacy and Planning: Implications for Retirement Wellbeing," Working Papers wp108, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    15. 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.
    16. 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.
    17. 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.
    18. Udry, Christopher, 1996. "Gender, Agricultural Production, and the Theory of the Household," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 1010-1046, October.
    19. Jonathan Morduch, 1999. "The Microfinance Promise," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1569-1614, December.
    20. Akresh, Richard, 2005. "Understanding Pareto Inefficient Intrahousehold Allocations," IZA Discussion Papers 1858, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance

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