Gender and Financial Misconduct: A Field Experiment on Mobile Money

76 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2020 Last revised: 5 Aug 2020

Date Written: December 23, 2019


We design a field experiment to study gender differences in misconduct, a significant yet poorly understood issue. We construct a census of the market for mobile banking in rural Ghanaian villages, and using actual transactional audits estimate that 1 out of every 5 mobile money transactions is overcharged relative to a mandated rate. In an experiment, we randomize the matches between vendors and customers, finding strong evidence of “gender misconduct gap”: female vendors are 10 percentage points (pp) (+44%) more likely to commit such misconduct relative to male vendors. The nature of misconduct is asymmetric: female vendors are 8 pp more likely to cheat customers of their gender; in contrast, male vendors are 11 pp less likely to cheat customers of their gender. We present evidence suggesting gender differences in empowerment, and beliefs about gender among vendors and customers as relevant mechanisms. Several other possible mechanisms are ruled out empirically. Our findings raise important issues at the intersection of economics and culture, and indicate that preexisting social distance (particularly unequal gender empowerment and gendered beliefs) can incentivize undesirable market outcomes and may be an important source of local financial market frictions.

Keywords: Discrimination and forensics, Household finance and fintech, Culture and misconduct

JEL Classification: J16, O12, D18, G23, Z13, G41

Suggested Citation

Annan, Francis, Gender and Financial Misconduct: A Field Experiment on Mobile Money (December 23, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Francis Annan (Contact Author)

Georgia State University ( email )

35 Broad St NW
Atlanta, GA 30309
United States

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