Microfinance institutions (MFIs) target people excluded from the traditional banking system. By providing start-up capital to these under-financed individuals, they enable a greater number of women to start their own business, particularly in sectors where initial capital requirements are high. Our study follows a portfolio of 3,640 microcredit applicants in France over the 2000–2006 time period, identifying MFI client profiles and bringing to light gender differences in borrowers compared to a wider sample of entrepreneurs. This study shows that the male–female gap found amongst company creators is also maintained amongst the clienteles of MFIs. Empirical results also suggest that gender is a decisive factor regarding the amount of credit provided to borrowers when comparing with other factors in the borrower and firm profile. Thus to a certain extent, MFIs are found to reinforce gender inequalities in France.
Small Business Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 3, 2011
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