Relationship Lending in Microfinance: Do Women Benefit As Much As Men?
Whereas most research works in microfinance tend to focus on the impact of access to such services, very few pay attention to what happens once a person becomes a client. The paper aims at analysing the conditions of loan renewals, knowing that most microfinance institutions (MFIs) apply a progressive lending policy. The analysis focuses on the evolution of loan amounts over credit cycles. As some clients leave the MFI after one or several loans, a procedure in three steps is used to correct the selection bias with panel data. The results show that all things being equal, loan amounts and their growth rates tend to increase over cycles, probably reflecting an increasing trusting relationship between the MFI and its clients. However, this increase is slower for women, revealing a less favourable progressive lending policy towards women. Consequently, as women already start from a lower position, initial inequalities cannot be counterbalanced.
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