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Microfinance for women: Are there economic reasons? Evidence from Latin America


  • Rodrigo de O. Leite

    (Rio de Janeiro State University)

  • Jamil Civitarese

    (Brazilian School of Public and Business Administration)


Our main research question is whether, using more robust statistical methods, the effect of the percentage of female borrowers of a Microfinance Institution (MFI) on the delinquency of the portfolio still holds. By using two samples of Latin American MFIs, we show that there is no relation between the percentage of female borrowers in an MFI portfolio and MFI economic outcomes. The relation between portfolio-at-risk and gender is not found when using a dynamic panel to account for serial autocorrelation, thus not accepting the hypothesis that women repay better than men. Hence, this paper suggests that MFIs lend more to women for reasons beyond just "economic" ones, such as empowering women and helping poor people, otherwise unable to access credit lines, get loans in Latin America.

Suggested Citation

  • Rodrigo de O. Leite & Jamil Civitarese, 2019. "Microfinance for women: Are there economic reasons? Evidence from Latin America," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 39(1), pages 571-580.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-18-00561

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. de Oliveira Leite, Rodrigo & dos Santos Mendes, Layla & de Lacerda Moreira, Rafael, 2020. "Profit status of microfinance institutions and incentives for earnings management," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 54(C).
    2. Hubert Tchakoute Tchuigoua, 2021. "Proximity‐based screening tools and credit rationing: Lessons from a Cameroonian greenfield microfinance institution," African Development Review, African Development Bank, vol. 33(3), pages 506-517, September.

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    More about this item


    microfinance; portfolio selection; dynamic panel;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G2 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development


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