IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Microfinance and Gender: Is There a Glass Ceiling in Loan Size?

Listed author(s):
  • Isabelle Agier
  • Ariane Szafarz

Microfinance institutions serve a majority of female borrowers. But do men and women benefit from same credit conditions? This paper investigates this issue by presenting an original model and testing its predictions on an exceptional database including 34,000 loan applications from a Brazilian microfinance institution over an eleven-year period. The model considers a lender that offers standardized loan contracts with a fixed interest rate, which is common practice in microfinance. It demonstrates that biased loan attribution may lead to three different outcomes, depending on the bias intensity: 1) denial of all applications from a given group, 2) a “glass ceiling” effect, namely loan downsizing of the largest projects from a given group, or 3) no impact. The empirical analysis detects no gender bias in approval rate, but uncovers a glass ceiling effect hurting female applicants. Moreover, this effect is insensitive to the credit officer's gender. In conclusion, the good news is that the microfinance practice does ensure a fair access to credit. The bad news is the presence of a glass ceiling faced by female entrepreneurs with larger projects.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: https://dipot.ulb.ac.be/dspace/bitstream/2013/64289/1/wp10047.pdf
File Function: wp10047
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series Working Papers CEB with number 10-047.

as
in new window

Length: 33 p.
Date of creation: Sep 2010
Publication status: Published by:
Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/64289
Contact details of provider: Postal:
CP114/03, 42 avenue F.D. Roosevelt, 1050 Bruxelles

Phone: +32 (0)2 650.48.64
Fax: +32 (0)2 650.41.88
Web page: http://difusion.ulb.ac.be
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as
in new window


  1. Aubert, Cécile & de Janvry, Alain & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 2009. "Designing credit agent incentives to prevent mission drift in pro-poor microfinance institutions," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 153-162, September.
  2. Khandker, S.R. & Khalily, B. & Khan, Z., 1995. "Grameen Bank: Performance and Sustainability," World Bank - Discussion Papers 306, World Bank.
  3. Suresh de Mel & David McKenzie & Christopher Woodruff, 2009. "Are Women More Credit Constrained? Experimental Evidence on Gender and Microenterprise Returns," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(3), pages 1-32, July.
  4. Lex Borghans & Bart H. H. Golsteyn & James J. Heckman & Huub Meijers, 2009. "Gender Differences in Risk Aversion and Ambiguity Aversion," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 649-658, 04-05.
  5. Fajnzylber, Pablo & Maloney, William F. & Montes-Rojas, Gabriel V., 2011. "Does formality improve micro-firm performance? Evidence from the Brazilian SIMPLES program," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 262-276, March.
  6. Marek Hudon, 2009. "Should Access to Credit be a Right?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 84(1), pages 17-28, January.
  7. Christian Weller, 2009. "Credit Access, the Costs of Credit and Credit Market Discrimination," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 7-28, March.
  8. Paulo R.A. Loureiro & Francisco Galrão Carneiro & Adolfo Sachsida, 2004. "Race and gender discrimination in the labor market: an urban and rural sector analysis for Brazil," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 31(2), pages 129-143, May.
  9. Steven B. Caudill & Daniel M. Gropper & Valentina Hartarska, 2009. "Which Microfinance Institutions Are Becoming More Cost Effective with Time? Evidence from a Mixture Model," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(4), pages 651-672, 06.
  10. Agier, Isabelle & Guérin, Isabelle & Szafarz, Ariane, 2012. "Child gender and parental borrowing: Evidence from India," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 115(3), pages 363-365.
  11. Fletschner, Diana, 2009. "Rural Women's Access to Credit: Market Imperfections and Intrahousehold Dynamics," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 618-631, March.
  12. Labie, Marc & Méon, Pierre-Guillaume & Mersland, Roy & Szafarz, Ariane, 2015. "Discrimination by microcredit officers: Theory and evidence on disability in Uganda," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 44-55.
  13. Becker, Gary S., 1971. "The Economics of Discrimination," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 2, number 9780226041162, November.
  14. Song Han, 2004. "Discrimination in Lending: Theory and Evidence," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 29(1), pages 5-46, 07.
  15. Méon, Pierre-Guillaume & Szafarz, Ariane, 2011. "The modern corporation as a safe haven for taste-based discrimination: An agency model of hiring decisions," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 487-497, August.
  16. 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, November.
  17. Alberto F. Alesina & Francesca Lotti & Paolo Emilio Mistrulli, 2013. "Do Women Pay More For Credit? Evidence From Italy," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11, pages 45-66, 01.
  18. G. Reza Arabsheibani & Francisco Galrao Carneiro & Andrew Henley, 2003. "Gender wage differentials in Brazil : trends over a turbulent era," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3148, The World Bank.
  19. Bellucci, Andrea & Borisov, Alexander & Zazzaro, Alberto, 2010. "Does gender matter in bank-firm relationships? Evidence from small business lending," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(12), pages 2968-2984, December.
  20. Goetz, Anne Marie & Gupta, Rina Sen, 1996. "Who takes the credit? Gender, power, and control over loan use in rural credit programs in Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 45-63, January.
  21. Beatriz Armendáriz & Ariane Szafarz, 2011. "On Mission Drift in Microfinance Institutions," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: The Handbook Of Microfinance, chapter 16, pages 341-366 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
  22. Garikipati, Supriya, 2008. "The Impact of Lending to Women on Household Vulnerability and Women's Empowerment: Evidence from India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(12), pages 2620-2642, December.
  23. Marianne Bertrand & Dolly Chugh & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2005. "Implicit Discrimination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 94-98, May.
  24. Jonathan Morduch, 1999. "The Microfinance Promise," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1569-1614, December.
  25. 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 771-792, November.
  26. Peggy Lovell, 2000. "Race, Gender and Regional Labor Market Inequalities in Brazil," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 58(3), pages 277-293.
  27. Johnson, Susan, 2004. "Gender Norms in Financial Markets: Evidence from Kenya," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(8), pages 1355-1374, August.
  28. Ferreira, Francisco H.G. & Leite, Phillippe G. & Ravallion, Martin, 2010. "Poverty reduction without economic growth?: Explaining Brazil's poverty dynamics, 1985-2004," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 20-36, September.
  29. Munnell, Alicia H. & Geoffrey M. B. Tootell & Lynn E. Browne & James McEneaney, 1996. "Mortgage Lending in Boston: Interpreting HMDA Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 25-53, March.
  30. Sexton, Donald L. & Bowman-Upton, Nancy, 1990. "Female and male entrepreneurs: Psychological characteristics and their role in gender-related discrimination," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 29-36, January.
  31. Ken Cavalluzzo & John Wolken, 2005. "Small Business Loan Turndowns, Personal Wealth, and Discrimination," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(6), pages 2153-2178, November.
  32. Buvinic, Mayra & Berger, Marguerite, 1990. "Sex differences in access to a small enterprise development fund in Peru," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 18(5), pages 695-705, May.
  33. Fay, Michael & Williams, Lesley, 1993. "Gender bias and the availability of business loans," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 363-376, July.
  34. Michael Ferguson & Stephen Peters, 1997. "Cultural Affinity and Lending Discrimination: The Impact of Underwriting Errors and Credit Risk Distribution on Applicant Denial Rates," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 11(1), pages 153-168, February.
  35. Beatriz Armendáriz & Jonathan Morduch, 2010. "The Economics of Microfinance, Second Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262014106, December.
  36. Verheul, Ingrid & Thurik, Roy, 2001. "Start-Up Capital: "Does Gender Matter?"," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 329-345, June.
  37. Helen F. Ladd, 1998. "Evidence on Discrimination in Mortgage Lending," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 41-62, Spring.
  38. Raphael Bostic, 2003. "A Test of Cultural Affinity in Home Mortgage Lending," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 23(2), pages 89-112, April.
  39. D. Storey, 2004. "Racial and Gender Discrimination in the Micro Firms Credit Market?: Evidence from Trinidad and Tobago," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 23(5), pages 401-422, December.
  40. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
  41. Lex Borghans & Bart H.H. Golsteyn & James J. Heckman & Huub Meijers, 2009. "Gender Differences in Risk Aversion and Ambiguity," Working Papers 200903, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  42. Blanchard, Lloyd & Zhao, Bo & Yinger, John, 2008. "Do lenders discriminate against minority and woman entrepreneurs?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 467-497, March.
  43. Hunter, William C & Walker, Mary Beth, 1996. "The Cultural Affinity Hypothesis and Mortgage Lending Decisions," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 57-70, July.
  44. Fischer, Eileen M. & Reuber, A. Rebecca & Dyke, Lorraine S., 1993. "A theoretical overview and extension of research on sex, gender, and entrepreneurship," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 151-168, March.
  45. Helena Marrez & Mathias Schmit, 2009. "Credit risk analysis in microcredit: How does gender matter?," Working Papers CEB 09-053.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  46. Wenjun Liu & Tomokazu Nomura & Shoji Nishijima, 2011. "Gender Discrimination and Firm Profit Efficiency:Evidence from Brazil," Discussion Papers 1019, Graduate School of Economics, Kobe University.
  47. Stephen L Ross, 2000. "Mortgage Lending, Sample Selection and Default," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 28(4), pages 581-621.
  48. Kabeer, Naila, 2001. "Conflicts Over Credit: Re-Evaluating the Empowerment Potential of Loans to Women in Rural Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 63-84, January.
  49. Nancy Carter & Candida Brush & Patricia Greene & Elizabeth Gatewood & Myra Hart, 2003. "Women entrepreneurs who break through to equity financing: The influence of human, social and financial capital," Venture Capital, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(1), pages 1-28, January.
  50. Isabelle Agier & Ariane Szafarz, 2011. "Credit to Women Entrepreneurs: The Curse of the Trustworthier Sex," Working Papers CEB 11-005, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  51. Marcella Corsi & Fabrizio Botti & Tommaso Rondinella & Giulia Zacchia, 2006. "Women and Microfinance in Mediterranean Countries," Development, Palgrave Macmillan;Society for International Deveopment, vol. 49(2), pages 67-74, June.
  52. Isabelle Agier, 2012. "The role of credit officers in the performance of micro loans," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 20(2), pages 271-297, 04.
  53. William A. Darity & Patrick L. Mason, 1998. "Evidence on Discrimination in Employment: Codes of Color, Codes of Gender," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 63-90, Spring.
  54. Buttner, E. Holly & Rosen, Benson, 1988. "Bank loan officers' perceptions of the characteristics of men, women, and successful entrepreneurs," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 249-258.
  55. Ariane Szafarz, 2008. "An Alternative to Statistical Discrimination," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/14329, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/64289. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Benoit Pauwels)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.