Nathan Fiala. Returns to microcredit, cash grants and training for male and female micro entrepreneurs in Uganda ,World Development, Volume 105, 2018,Pages 189-200.
Experimental tests of microfinance programs have found little or no impacts on business and household income outcomes. I present experimental evidence that the gender of the individual receiving a loan matters for the impacts measured. Microenterprise owners were randomly offered either capital with repayment (discounted loans) or without (grants) and were randomly chosen to receive business skills training in conjunction with the capital. I find no short-run effects for female-owned enterprises from either form of capital or the training. However, I find large effects on profits and sales for male-owned enterprises that were offered loans. There is no effect for men from the grants, suggesting repayment requirements increased the likelihood of productive investment. The results indicate that cash-constrained men—a sample that is not traditionally targeted by microcredit organizations—can benefit from subsidized micro-finance.