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Obstacles to Business, Technology Use, and Firms with Female Principal Owners in Kenya


  • Nidhiya Menon

    (Department of Economics, Brandeis University)


Data on 778 establishments indicates that firms in Kenya rely on technologies such as computers, generators, and cell-phones to conduct operations when regulations, infrastructure, security, workforce, corruption, and finance pose significant hurdles in the business environment. Obstacles related to regulations, security, and workforce, increase the probability of technology ownership, whereas obstacles related to infrastructure in particular, reduces the probability that firms own technology. Results indicate that while all firms rely on technology in the face of regulatory and other obstacles, those with female principal owners experience net effects that are statistically distinct from those experienced by their counterparts. A gender-of-owner disaggregated Oaxaca-Blinder type decomposition of differences in technology ownership indicates that up to 18% of the total gap is unexplained by differences in measurable characteristics between firms that are female-owned and those that are not, suggesting that female-owned firms may own technology to a higher level than is warranted by their observed covariates.

Suggested Citation

  • Nidhiya Menon, 2010. "Obstacles to Business, Technology Use, and Firms with Female Principal Owners in Kenya," Working Papers 20, Brandeis University, Department of Economics and International Businesss School.
  • Handle: RePEc:brd:wpaper:20

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lall, Somik V. & Mengistae, Taye, 2005. "The impact of business environment and economic geography on plant-level productivity : an analysis of Indian industry," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3664, The World Bank.
    2. Nidhiya Menon & Paroma Sanyal, 2007. "Labor Conflict and Foreign Investments: An Analysis of FDI in India," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(4), pages 629-644, November.
    3. Alberto Alesina & Joseph Zeira, 2006. "Technology and Labor Regulations," NBER Working Papers 12581, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Jenny C. Aker & Isaac M. Mbiti, 2010. "Mobile Phones and Economic Development in Africa," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 207-232, Summer.
    5. Amin, Mohammad, 2009. "Are labor regulations driving computer usage in India's retail stores?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 102(1), pages 45-48, January.
    6. Sanyal, Paroma & Menon, Nidhiya, 2005. "Labor Disputes and the Economics of Firm Geography: A Study of Domestic Investment in India," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(4), pages 825-854, July.
    7. Almeida, Rita & Carneiro, Pedro, 2009. "Enforcement of labor regulation and firm size," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 28-46, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nidhiya Menon, 2010. "Got Technology? The Impact of Computers and Cell-phones on Productivity in a Difficult Business Climate: Evidence from Firms with Female Owners in Kenya," Working Papers 21, Brandeis University, Department of Economics and International Businesss School.

    More about this item


    Obstacles to Business; Technology; Kenya; Firms; Female Owners;

    JEL classification:

    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa

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