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Does lending to women lower sustainability of microfinance institutions? Moderating role of national cultures

Wiboon Kittilaksanawong (Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Economics, Saitama University, Saitama, Japan)
Hongyu Zhao (School of Management, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China)

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Article publication date: 19 January 2018

Issue publication date: 8 May 2018

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate whether lending to women decreases sustainability of microfinance institutions (MFIs) and how regional characteristics where MFIs are located moderate this effect.

Design/methodology/approach

Financial and operating data of MFIs and national cultures are available from the MIX Market database and the Hofstede’s publications. These data are analyzed by using multiple regression models with the financial self-sustainability, proportion of women borrowers in the MFI’s lending portfolio, and dimensions of national culture as dependent, explanatory and moderating variables.

Findings

Lending to women tends to reduce sustainability of MFIs. This negative effect is more pronounced in countries ranking higher on power distance and individualism, but the effect is less serious in countries ranking higher on masculinity and uncertainty avoidance.

Originality/value

Many studies demonstrate that MFIs improve their repayment rates by targeting women borrowers. The increase in repayment rates, however, may not always improve their sustainability. Further, as microfinance industry increasingly diversifies geographically, regional characteristics where MFIs are located play a vital contingent role in their sustainability.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 15K03694.

Citation

Kittilaksanawong, W. and Zhao, H. (2018), "Does lending to women lower sustainability of microfinance institutions? Moderating role of national cultures", Gender in Management, Vol. 33 No. 3, pp. 187-202. https://doi.org/10.1108/GM-11-2015-0098

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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