Article thumbnail

Female-owned firms in Latin America : characteristics, performance, and obstacles to growth

By Miriam Bruhn


This paper examines the characteristics and performance of female-owned firms in Latin America. Data from firm surveys show that female-owned firms tend to be smaller than male-owned firms in terms of employees, sales, costs, and physical capital. Female-owned firms also have lower profits than male-owned firms, but for larger firms this difference disappears after controlling for labor and capital inputs. Medium-size and large female-owned firms are as productive as male-owned firms of the same size, although micro and small female-owned firms are less productive than male-owned firms. There is no evidence that the differences between female and male-owned firms are due to differences in access to finance or regulatory burdens. However, this paper finds a negative correlation between child care and household obligations and female-owned firm size and performance.

OAI identifier:

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.

Suggested articles


  1. (2009). (forthcoming). Female Entrepreneurship.
  2. (1998). A.and Alexandra Bernasek.
  3. (2009). Access to Credit and Performance of Female Entrepreneurs in Latin America.” Mimeo.
  4. (2009). Are Women More Credit Constrained? Experimental Evidence on Gender and Microenterprise Returns.” Forthcoming,
  5. (1999). Are Women Really More Risk-Averse?”
  6. (2008). Reducing Gender Based Differences in Formality and Productivity.
  7. (2008). Unlocking the Power of Women. Chapter prepared for the Ethiopia ICA. Toward the Competitive Frontier: Strategies for Improving Ethiopia’s Investment Climate. World Bank,