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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. Christian Weller, 2009. "Credit Access, the Costs of Credit and Credit Market Discrimination," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer, vol. 36(1), pages 7-28, March.
  2. Marek Hudon, 2009. "Should Access to Credit be a Right?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 84(1), pages 17-28, January.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Lex Borghans & Bart H.H. Golsteyn & James J. Heckman & Huub Meijers, 2009. "Gender Differences in Risk Aversion and Ambiguity Aversion," NBER Working Papers 14713, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Agier, Isabelle & Szafarz, Ariane, 2013. "Microfinance and Gender: Is There a Glass Ceiling on Loan Size?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 165-181.
  8. Alberto F. Alesina & Francesca Lotti & Paolo Emilio Mistrulli, 2008. "Do Women Pay More for Credit? Evidence from Italy," NBER Working Papers 14202, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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.
  10. de Janvry, Alain & McIntosh, Craig & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 2010. "The supply- and demand-side impacts of credit market information," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(2), pages 173-188, November.
  11. Diagne, Aliou & Zeller, Manfred & Sharma, Manohar, 2000. "Empirical measurements of households' access to credit and credit constraints in developing countries," FCND discussion papers 90, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  12. Marc Labie & Pierre-Guillaume Méon & Roy Mersland & Ariane Szafarz, 2010. "Discrimination by Microcredit Officers: Theory and Evidence on Disability in Uganda," Working Papers CEB 10-007.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Boris F. Blumberg & Wilko A. Letterie, 2008. "Business Starters and Credit Rationing," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 187-200, February.
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