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

  • Suresh de Mel
  • David McKenzie
  • Christopher Woodruff

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)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/app.1.3.1
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 1 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 1-32

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:1:y:2009:i:3:p:1-32
Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.1.3.1
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej-applied
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Esther Duflo, 2000. "Grandmothers and Granddaughters: Old Age Pension and Intra-household Allocation in South Africa," NBER Working Papers 8061, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Shahidur R. Khandker, 1998. "Using Microcredit to Advance Women," World Bank Other Operational Studies 11523, The World Bank.
  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. 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.
  9. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2011. "Financial Literacy and Planning: Implications for Retirement Wellbeing," NBER Working Papers 17078, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Jonathan Morduch, 1999. "The Microfinance Promise," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1569-1614, December.
  11. 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).
  12. 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.
  13. de Mel, Suresh & McKenzie, David & Woodruff, Christopher, 2007. "Returns to capital in microenterprises : evidence from a field experiment," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4230, The World Bank.
  14. 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.
  15. Akresh, Richard, 2005. "Understanding Pareto Inefficient Intrahousehold Allocations," IZA Discussion Papers 1858, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. 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.
  17. Simeon Djankov & Edward Miguel & Yingyi Qian & Gerard Roland & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2005. "Who are Russia’s entrepreneurs?," Working Papers w0048, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
  18. 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.
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