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Discrimination in the Small Business Credit Market

  • David G. Blanchflower
  • Phillip B. Levine
  • David J. Zimmerman

This paper uses data from the 1993 National Survey of Small Business Finances to determine the extent to which minority-owned small businesses face constraints in the credit market beyond those faced by white-owned small businesses. First, we present qualitative evidence indicating that black- and white-owned firms report similar concerns about the factors that may affect their businesses except that blacks are far more likely to report problems with credit availability. Second, we conduct an econometric analysis of loan denial probabilities by race and find that black-owned small businesses are almost three times more likely to have a loan application denied. Even after controlling for the differences in credit-worthiness and other factors that exist between black- and white-owned firms, blacks are still about twice as likely to be denied credit. A series of specification checks indicates that this gap is unlikely to be largely attributed to omitted variable bias. Third, we conduct a similar analysis regarding interest rates charged to approved loans and find black-owned firms pay higher interest rates as well. Finally, even these results are likely to understate differences in credit access because many potential black-owned firms are not in operation due to the lack of credit and those in business may be too afraid to apply. These results indicate that the racial disparity in credit availability is likely caused by discrimination.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w6840.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6840.

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Date of creation: Dec 1998
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Publication status: published as David G. Blanchflower & Phillip B. Levine & David J. Zimmerman, 2003. "Discrimination in the Small-Business Credit Market," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 930-943, 09.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6840
Note: LS
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  16. Lindh, Thomas & Ohlsson, Henry, 1996. "Self-Employment and Windfall Gains: Evidence from the Swedish Lottery," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(439), pages 1515-26, November.
  17. James J. Heckman, 1998. "Detecting Discrimination," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 101-116, Spring.
  18. Yezer, Anthony M J & Phillips, Robert F & Trost, Robert P, 1994. "Bias in Estimates of Discrimination and Default in Mortgage Lending: The Effects of Simultaneity and Self-Selection," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 197-215, November.
  19. Helen F. Ladd, 1998. "Evidence on Discrimination in Mortgage Lending," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 41-62, Spring.
  20. Blanchflower, D. & Oswald, A., 1990. "Working Internationally," Papers 371, London School of Economics - Centre for Labour Economics.
  21. Cavalluzzo, Ken S & Cavalluzzo, Linda C, 1998. "Market Structure and Discrimination: The Case of Small Businesses," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 30(4), pages 771-92, November.
  22. Paul W. Bauer & Brian A. Cromwell, 1994. "A Monte Carlo examination of bias tests in mortgage lending," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Q III, pages 27-40.
  23. Cathy Cloud & George Galster, 1993. "What do we know about racial discrimination in mortgage markets?," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 101-120, September.
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