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Does the Caste of the Firm Owner Play a Role in Access to Finance for Small Enterprises? Evidence from India

Rajesh Raj S. N. and Subash Sasidharan ()

The Developing Economies, 2018, vol. 56, issue 4, 267-296

Abstract: This study examines whether caste affiliation influences the ability to obtain credit from institutional sources. We employ Fourth All India Census of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises 2006–2007 data to empirically verify this relationship. We conduct an econometric analysis of loan outcomes by the caste affiliation of the firm owner and observe that firms owned by socially disadvantaged groups have a lower probability of obtaining formal credit even after controlling for differences in creditworthiness and other factors. Our results also show that discrimination by formal credit institutions extends to the amount of the loan sanctioned. These results thus suggest that affirmative action programs in India have not had much impact on credit market access for socially marginalized entrepreneurs, and policymakers should address this concern by introducing special programs and regulatory incentives to encourage banks and others to increase their lending toward these disadvantaged groups.

Date: 2018
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