Loyalty, trust, and glass ceiling
The gender effect on microcredit renewal
Whereas most research into microfinance tends to focus on the impact of access to such services, very little pays attention to what happens over time once a person becomes a client. The paper aims at analysing the conditions of loan renewals as most microfinance institutions foster client retention and apply a progressive lending policy. Moreover, as previous studies have shown that women are not always favoured regarding loan amounts granted, the progressive lending policy is analysed from a gender perspective.
The work is based on a case study about the main Tunisian microfinance institution using longitudinal client data. The analysis focuses on the growth rate of amounts granted over credit cycles. As some clients leave the microfinance institution after one or several loans, we follow a procedure enabling us to correct the selection bias with panel data. The results show that, all things being equal, the growth rates tend to increase over cycles, probably reflecting an increasingly trusting relationship between the microfinance institution and its clients. However, this increase is slower for women, revealing a less favourable progressive lending policy towards women. Consequently, as women already start from a lower position, initial inequalities cannot be counterbalanced.