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Does Financial Development Reduce Gender Disparity in Top Manager Positions in Manufacturing SMEs in Developing Countries ?
World Bank
2024.02.27
Women often face more hurdles than men in obtaining finance. This is especially so when credit supply is limited and financial markets are less developed. As a result, owners of firms may prefer men over women as top managers of their firms, widening the gender gap in top manager positions. This paper tests this idea using firm-level survey data for small and medium-size formal manufacturing enterprises in 47 developing countries. The results confirm a positive relationship between credit supply and the likelihood of having a woman versus a man as the top manager. This positive relationship is much stronger in industries that are more dependent on external sources of finance for technological reasons. It is also stronger in countries with poor coverage by credit bureaus and low competition between banks, which is consistent with “statistical” and “taste-based” discrimination against women borrowers. The main result is robust to several endogeneity checks, sample alterations, and alternative measures of credit supply and financial development.