Do Female Entrepreneurs Face More Growth Obstacles? Evidence from Latin American Countries

Posted: 26 Feb 2013

See all articles by Lee Allison

Lee Allison

Oklahoma State University

Zuobao Wei

University of Texas at El Paso

Date Written: January 28, 2013


Among the existing studies that examine issues related to female-owned businesses (FOBs) and male-owned businesses (MOBs), much of the attention has been devoted to finding performance differences between FOBs and MOBs (Ahl 2006). Very little attention has been directed at the broad business, institutional, and societal environments in which the entrepreneurs operate and strategize. In this study, employing World Bank Enterprise Survey (WBES) data from 23 Latin American Countries and over 14,000 unique firms, we investigate if female and male entrepreneurs face different levels of obstacles to firm growth. We document evidence that female entrepreneurs face significantly higher levels of crime and theft, corruption by local officials, financing obstacles, infrastructure obstacles, and a higher level of anticompetitive practices. We further explore the relation between gender of the business owner and firm growth measured as sales growth and employment growth. We find that after controlling for firm characteristics, industry effects, and country level macro variables, the difference of firm growth between FOBs and MOBs is statistically insignificant. Our findings should be of interest to scholars and policymakers, especially those who are in the position to influence the broad business and institutional environment.

Keywords: Entrepreneurs, gender, Latin Americas, growth obstacles, corruption, financial constraints

JEL Classification: J16, G38

Suggested Citation

Allison, Lee and Wei, Zuobao, Do Female Entrepreneurs Face More Growth Obstacles? Evidence from Latin American Countries (January 28, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Lee Allison

Oklahoma State University ( email )

United States

Zuobao Wei (Contact Author)

University of Texas at El Paso ( email )

500 W. University Ave.
El Paso, TX 79968
United States
915-747-5381 (Phone)
915-747-6282 (Fax)

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