Availability of Private Credit–Does Culture Matter?

This paper aims to examine the impact of national culture on private credit availability. The authors particularly focus on the masculinity dimension, as previous studies have not been able to reconcile this dimension in terms of results aligning with expectations. Design/methodology/approach Least-squares regression with country-cluster standard errors is used to estimate the impact of a nation’s cultural dimensions. Culture is assessed using Hofstede’s six cultural dimensions: masculinity, power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism, long-term orientation and indulgence. Estimation controls for country-level measures of economic growth and development, inflation, financial market development and the institutional, legal and bank environments. Data on more than 70 countries were collected from 2005 to 2014. Findings The authors find the masculinity dimension of culture has a significant negative impact on private credit access. Moreover, this result is driven by middle-income versus high-income countries. Interestingly, the authors also find the power distance dimension has a significant negative impact; however, this result is driven by high-income versus middle-income countries. Overall, these results are consistent with the authors’ argument that masculinity may be capturing traditionally defined gender roles, that masculinity (as the authors define it) is different from what power distance is capturing and that the impact of masculinity is influenced by a country’s economic stage. Originality/value The authors’ interpretation of masculinity, coupled with their results, presents researchers with an alternative perspective of a cultural dimension that previous studies have not been able to reconcile in terms of results aligning with expectations. Moreover, the authors show that the impact of the cultural dimensions on private credit differs for high- and middle-income countries, and thus has important implications.

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