Vilfredo Pareto Research Seminar
Ralph de Haas

Discriminatory Lending: Evidence from Bankers in the Lab

Ralph De Haas, Director of Research at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
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Webinar streamed via Zoom

The Vilfredo Pareto Research Seminar is the Economics department's weekly seminar, featuring external speakers in all areas of economics.

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As part of the Vilfredo Pareto Research Seminar series, the International Economics Department at the Graduate Institute is pleased to invite you to a public talk given by Ralph De Haas, Director of Research at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

He will present his work titled Discriminatory Lending: Evidence from Bankers in the Lab, coauthored with Michelle Brock.

Abstract: We implement a lab-in-the-field experiment with 334 Turkish loan officers to document gender discrimination in small business lending and to unpack the mechanisms at play. Each officer reviews multiple real-life loan applications in which we randomize the applicant's gender. While unconditional approval rates are the same for male and female applicants, loan officers are 26 percent more likely to require a guarantor when we present the same application as coming from a female instead of a male entrepreneur. A causal forest algorithm to estimate heterogeneous treatment effects reveals that this discrimination is strongly concentrated among young, inexperienced, and gender-biased loan officers. Discrimination mainly affects female loan applicants in male-dominated industries, indicating how financial frictions can perpetuate entrepreneurial gender segregation across sectors.


About the speaker

Ralph De Haas holds a PhD in Economics from Utrecht University and previously worked as a Senior Economist in the Prudential Supervision Department and the Economic Policy and Research Department of the Dutch central bank. He is also a part-time Associate Professor of Finance at Tilburg University; a CEPR Research Fellow; a Fellow at the European Banking Center (EBC); a Senior Fellow at LSE’s Institute of Global Affairs; and the recipient of the 2014 Willem F. Duisenberg Fellowship Prize. His main research interests include international banking, financial inclusion and small-business finance, and development economics.