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Access and use of ICT in female-owned SMEs in selected Arab Countries and Brazil: A comparative study


  • Mona Farid Badran, PhD

    (Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo, Egypt)


This research paper aims to present a comparative empirical study, to investigate the impact that ICT plays on empowering women entrepreneurs in 5 developing/ emerging countries, namely Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Algeria, and Brazil. The World Bank's Investment Climate Assessment Surveys (ICA), are the primary source for data, for the four Arab countries, and Brazil. The ICA database provides comparable enterprise level data based on similar sampling techniques. The results obtained from the empirical study reveal that in the selected Arab countries, the increase in female owned SMEs is associated with a decrease in the Internal Rate of Return. However, when we control for ICT in terms of ICT index constructed using the Principal component analysis technique (PCA), the female owned SMEs becomes statistically insignificant, as well as the ICT index. This implies that IRR is negatively associated with the female owners of the SME, and there is a no association between IRR and the access and use of ICT. In Brazil, however, neither gender nor ICT played any role in the profitability of SMEs. However, as for the other measure for economic performance, namely the labor intensity, the findings reveal that in the selected Arab countries, the ICT index has a positive, statically significant, association with laborintensity, while in Brazil the usage of a Website has a negative, statistically significant, association with the labor-intensity.

Suggested Citation

  • Mona Farid Badran, PhD, 2014. "Access and use of ICT in female-owned SMEs in selected Arab Countries and Brazil: A comparative study," Working Papers 2014/12, Maastricht School of Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:msm:wpaper:2014/12

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Elena Bardasi & Shwetlena Sabarwal & Katherine Terrell, 2011. "How do female entrepreneurs perform? Evidence from three developing regions," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 37(4), pages 417-441, November.
    2. Eduardo Lora & Francesca Castellani, 2014. "Entrepreneurship in Latin America : A Step Up the Social Ladder?," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 16347.
    3. Chowdhury, Shyamal K. & Wolf, Susanne, 2003. "Use of ICTs and the Economic Performance of SMEs in East Africa," WIDER Working Paper Series 006, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. W. Edward STEINMUELLER, 2001. "ICTs and the possibilities for leapfrogging by developing countries," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 140(2), pages 193-210, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ananya Goswami & Sraboni Dutta, 2016. "E-Commerce Adoption by Women Entrepreneurs in India: An Application of the UTAUT Model," Business and Economic Research, Macrothink Institute, vol. 6(2), pages 440-454, December.

    More about this item


    SMEs; females; Arab countries; Brazil; ICT; ICA survey;

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups

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