Credit Access for Female Firms: Evidence from a Survey on European SMEs

39 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2013

Date Written: June 21, 2013

Abstract

This paper uses ECB survey data to assess whether gender matters in the small firms’ financial structure and access to credit. Firms owned or managed by women (female firms) use smaller amounts and less heterogeneous sources of external finance than their male counterparts. According to statistical evidence, female firms have difficulty in accessing bank finance: on the demand side, they apply for bank loans less frequently, as they more often anticipate a rejection; on the supply side, they experience a higher rejection rate. Econometric analysis shows that these different patterns are largely explained by the characteristics (such as business size, age and sector of activity) that make female firms structurally different from those led by men, without leaving room for a significant gender effect. An additional contribution of this paper is to compare the major euro-area countries within a homogeneous framework: weak evidence of gender discrimination appears in the supply of bank loans in Germany, Italy and Spain, while some demand obstacles arise in France.

Keywords: financial structure, banking, economics of gender, small business finance

JEL Classification: G32, G21, J16

Suggested Citation

Stefani, Maria Lucia and Vacca, Valerio Paolo, Credit Access for Female Firms: Evidence from a Survey on European SMEs (June 21, 2013). Bank of Italy Occasional Paper No. 176. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2297789 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2297789

Maria Lucia Stefani (Contact Author)

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
Rome, 00184
Italy

Valerio Paolo Vacca

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
Rome, 00184
Italy

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