Explaining the gender gap in microenterprise performance: Evidence from India


Published 12.01.22
Photo credit:
Hugh Mitton/flickr

The gender gap in vendor revenue is likely due to inequitable access to capital rather than buyer preferences or seller behaviour

Read “Does gender matter for small business performance? Experimental evidence from India” by Solène Delecourt and Odyssia Ng here.

In addition to the gender pay gap, many studies have also shown a gap in business performance across genders, dependent on factors such as returns to capital and access to resources. This is particularly true in low-income countries where women have lower educational achievement, lower labour force participation, and face the many gendered dimensions of poverty. In this VoxDevTalk, Solène Delecourt discusses her recent work with co-author Odyssia Ng in which they analyse how the gender of vegetable sellers in markets in Jaipur, India affects sales and revenue.

In preliminary observational data, the authors note that many dimensions including hours worked or prices charged are the same across genders. However, men have much higher inventory levels and earn daily revenue twice that of female sellers. The authors run two sets of experiments controlling for both demand- and supply-side factors that may affect the observed revenue and find no difference in seller performance, highlighting that gender disparities are not due to buyer preferences or apparent seller behaviour. Their results imply that differences in vendor performance are more likely due to factors affecting business inputs and that interventions targeting equitable access to capital may reduce the gender gap.