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Finance and Economics Discussion Series
The Finance and Economics Discussion Series logo links to FEDS home page Competition, Small Business Financing, and Discrimination: Evidence from a New Survey
Ken Cavalluzzo, Linda Cavalluzzo, and John D. Wolken

Abstract: Using data from the 1993 National Survey of Small Business Finances, we examine some of the factors influencing differences in small business credit market experiences across demographic groups. We analyze credit applications, loan denials, and interest rates paid across gender, race and ethnicity of small business owners. In addition, we analyze data gathered from small business owners who said they did not apply for credit because they believed that their application would have been turned down. This set of analyses, in combination with important new information on the personal credit history of the principal owner, the business credit history of the firm, a rich set of additional explanatory variables, and information on local bank market structure, helps us to understand better the sources of observed differentials in the credit market experiences of small business operators across demographic groups. Credit market experiences often differ markedly among demographic groups. However, so do the characteristics of firms and owners. Results of our multivariate analyses show that many of the factors we consider help to explain the observed differences in credit market experiences However, even after controlling for a large number of firm and owner characteristics, substantial differences often remained. There was also evidence that some of the differentials were associated with the degree of lender market concentration in the firm's local area.

Keywords: Discrimination, small business finance, market structure

Full paper (240 KB PDF) | Full paper (4527 KB Postscript)

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Last update: July 6, 1999