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Finance and Economics Discussion Series
Finance and Economics Discussion Series logo links to FEDS home page Firm, Owner, and Financing Characteristics: Differences between Female- and Male-owned Small Businesses
Alicia Robb and John Wolken

Abstract: Differences in financing patterns and financial characteristics between female- and male-owned firms are often attributed to imperfections in credit markets. However, these differences could arise for many reasons, such as differences in the characteristics and preferences of owners and firms. The differences in lending patterns by gender may in fact have little or nothing to do with supply side factors or market imperfections. The goal of our paper is to test the hypothesis that differences in financing patterns between female- and male-owned small businesses can be explained by differences in business, credit history, and owner characteristics other than gender. In what follows, we first describe how owner, business, and financing characteristics of female-owned businesses differ from male-owned businesses. We then conduct a multivariate analysis of indicators of credit use and recent lending experiences, modeling each of these as a function of firm, owner, and credit history characteristics.

Keywords: Small business, financing, gender

Full paper (90 KB PDF)

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Last update: April 5, 2002