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Credit to Women Entrepreneurs: The Curse of the Trustworthier Sex

  • Isabelle Agier
  • Ariane Szafarz

Women entrepreneurs are known not only to reimburse loans swifter than men, but also to receive smaller loans. However, on average women have smaller-scope business projects and are poorer than men. A deeper investigation is thus required in order to assess the existence of gender discrimination in small-business lending. This is precisely the aim of this paper. Its contribution is twofold. Firstly, it proposes a new estimation method for assessing discrimination in loan allocation. This method operationalizes the theoretical “double standard” approach developed by Ferguson and Peters (1995, Journal of Finance). Secondly, this paper applies the new methodology to an exceptionally rich database from a Brazilian microfinance institution. The empirical results point to gender discrimination. Additionally, it is shown that reducing the information asymmetry through relationship brings no remedy to the curse of the trustworthier sex.

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Paper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series Working Papers CEB with number 11-005.

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Length: 33 p.
Date of creation: Feb 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published by:
Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/76871
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  1. Isabelle Agier & Ariane Szafarz, 2013. "Microfinance and Gender: Is There a Glass Ceiling on Loan Size?," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/149090, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  2. Pierre-Guillaume Méon & Roy Mersland & Ariane Szafarz & Marc Labie, 2011. "Discrimination by Microcredit Officers:Theory and Evidence on Disability in Uganda," DULBEA Working Papers 11-06, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  3. 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.
  4. Borghans, Lex & Golsteyn, Bart H.H. & Heckman, James J. & Meijers, Huub, 2009. "Gender Differences in Risk Aversion and Ambiguity Aversion," IZA Discussion Papers 3985, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Kevane, Michael & Wydick, Bruce, 2001. "Microenterprise Lending to Female Entrepreneurs: Sacrificing Economic Growth for Poverty Alleviation?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(7), pages 1225-1236, July.
  6. Beaman, Lori & Chattopadhyay, Raghabendra & Duflo, Esther & Pande, Rohini & Topalova, Petia, 2008. "Powerful Women: Does Exposure Reduce Bias?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6922, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Koen Rossel-Cambier, 2008. "Combined Micro-Finance: Selected Research Questions from a Stakeholder Point of View," Working Papers CEB 08-004.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  8. Christian E. Weller, 2008. "Credit Access, the Costs of Credit and Credit Market Discrimination," Working Papers wp171, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
  9. Diagne, Aliou & Zeller, Manfred & Sharma, Manohar, 2000. "Empirical measurements of households' access to credit and credit constraints in developing countries," FCND briefs 90, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  10. Marek Hudon, 2009. "Should Access to Credit be a Right?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 84(1), pages 17-28, January.
  11. Marcella Corsi & Fabrizio Botti & Tommaso Rondinella & Giulia Zacchia, 2006. "Women and Microfinance in Mediterranean Countries," Development, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 49(2), pages 67-74, June.
  12. Thi Thu Tra Pham & Robert Lensink, 2007. "Lending policies of informal, formal and semiformal lenders," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 15(2), pages 181-209, 04.
  13. 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.
  14. Boris F. Blumberg & Wilko A. Letterie, 2008. "Business Starters and Credit Rationing," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 187-200, February.
  15. 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.
  16. Alain de Janvry & Craig McIntosh & Elisabeth Sadoulet, 2006. "The supply and demand side impacts of credit market information," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
  17. 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.
  18. James Copestake, 2002. "Inequality and the polarizing impact of microcredit: evidence from Zambia's copperbelt," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(6), pages 743-755.
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