, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 417-441
Date: 13 Oct 2011

How do female entrepreneurs perform? Evidence from three developing regions

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Abstract

Using the World Bank Enterprise Survey data, we analyze performance gaps between male- and female-owned companies in three regions—Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ECA), Latin America (LA), and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Among our findings are significant gender gaps between male- and female-owned companies in terms of firm size, but much smaller gaps in terms of firm efficiency and growth (except in LA). Part of the reason women run smaller firms is that they tend to concentrate in sectors in which firms are smaller and less efficient (in ECA and SSA). By contrast, we find no evidence of gender discrimination in access to formal finance in any of the three regions, although in ECA women are less likely than men to seek formal finance. Finally, while female entrepreneurs receive smaller loans than their male counterparts, the returns from each dollar they receive is no lower in terms of overall sales revenue.

This paper is dedicated to the memory of Katherine Terrell.