Female Entrepreneurship, Access to Credit, and Firms' Performance in Senegal

Despite an increase in the share of female-owned existing and new start-up firms in Senegal, there is still a wide belief that female entrepreneurs are discriminated against in the credit market. This paper empirically investigates such gender-based discrimination, and the extent to which it might be translated into lower efficiency. Using firm-level data and a methodological approach that consists of the data envelopment analysis, an endogenous switching regression and a propensity score matching, the paper finds no evidence to support the common wisdom that women are discriminated in the credit market. In addition, to the extent that they benefit from credit, female reap equal returns from the funds, efficiency-wise. These results do not however call for the abandonment of gender-biased public policies aiming at promoting access to credit and entrepreneurship, but suggest they be grounded on more robust footings such as managers’ education, firms’ ownership, sectorial activities with respect to capital intensity, and geographical locations.