Review of Corporate Finance > Vol 3 > Issue 1–2

Female Leaders and Financial Inclusion: Evidence from Microfinance Institutions

R. Øystein Strøm, Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway, , Bert D’Espallier, KU Leuven, Belgium, , Roy Mersland, University of Agder, Norway,
Suggested Citation
R. Øystein Strøm, Bert D’Espallier and Roy Mersland (2023), "Female Leaders and Financial Inclusion: Evidence from Microfinance Institutions", Review of Corporate Finance: Vol. 3: No. 1–2, pp 69-97.

Publication Date: 31 May 2023
© 2023 R. Øystein Strøm, B. D’Espallier and R. Mersland
JEL Codes: G34, M12, M14
Female CEOfinancial inclusionmicrofinance institutionscross-country panel data


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In this article:
Theory and Evidence 
Data and Variable Definitions 
Econometric Evidence 
Robustness Tests 


We investigate if the CEO’s gender plays a role in microfinance institutions (MFIs) inclusion of poor families into a formal financial relation. Financial inclusion comprises inclusion of the poorest segments of borrowers (the intensive margin), and the number of borrowers (the extensive margin). The data set is a unique global panel of MFIs collected from MFI raters’ reports where about 25% of all MFIs have a female CEO. Using instrumental variables regressions, we find evidence the female CEOs have an impact upon the intensive margin (smaller average loans, more gender bias), but no evidence of greater inclusion on the extensive margin (credit client growth). The results fit theories of women being more benevolent and universalistic than men. We~run robustness tests of our financial inclusion variables and other leadership categories.



Review of Corporate Finance, Volume 3, Issue 1-2 Special Issue on Gender Diversity in Corporate Finance: Articles Overiew
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