, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 493-512
Date: 08 Oct 2011

Gender differences in the impact of banking services: evidence from Mexico

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This paper examines the effects of providing financial services to low-income individuals on entrepreneurial activity, employment, and the income levels of men and women. We exploit cross-time and cross-municipality variation in the opening of Banco Azteca in Mexico to measure these effects with a difference-in-difference strategy. This bank opened over 800 branches simultaneously in 2002, focusing on low-income clients. Our results show that this led to an increase in the number of informal business owners among men and to an increase in wage-earning opportunities for women. Average income levels also increased, with this increase being twofold higher for women than for men.

We thank the Knowledge for Change Program for supporting this project with funding and Kiyomi Cadena for providing excellent research assistance. We are also grateful to David McKenzie and James Vickery for their very useful comments. The views expressed in this paper do not necessarily reflect those of the World Bank, its Executive Directors, or the countries they represent.