Does gender matter in bank-firm relationships? Evidence from small business lending

In this paper we study the relevance of the gender of the contracting parties involved in lending. We show that female entrepreneurs face tighter credit availability, even though they do not pay higher interest rates. The effect is independent of the information available about the borrower and holds if we control for unobservable individual effects. The gender of the loan officer is also important: we find that female officers are more risk-averse or less self-confident than male officers as they tend to restrict credit availability to new, un-established borrowers more than their male counterparts.

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