Are Women More Credit Constrained? Experimental Evidence on Gender and Microenterprise Returns

Suresh de Mel
David McKenzie
Christopher Woodruff
Publication Type: 
Papers
Journal Name: 
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics
Journal Volume: 
1
Journal Number: 
3
Pages: 
1-32
Publication Year: 
2009

We report on a field experiment providing random grants to microenterprise owners. The grants generated large profit increases for male owners, but not for female owners. We show that the gender gap does not simply mask differences in ability, risk aversion, entrepreneurial attitudes, or differences in reporting behavior, but there is some evidence that the gender gap is larger in female-dominated industries. The data are not consistent with a unitary household model, and indeed, imply an inefficiency of resource allocation within households. We show evidence that this inefficiency is reduced in more cooperative households.

JEL Codes: 
D13, D14, J16, L25, L26, O12, O16
Region: 
South and Central Asia
Country: 
Sri Lanka
Topic: 
Experiments
Topic: 
Enterprise
Topic: 
Microfinance
Topic: 
Risk
Topic: 
Credit
Topic: 
Randomized Evaluation