Mind The (Profit) Gap: Why Are Female Enterprise Owners Earning Less Than Men?

Journal Article
Published on 1 May 2018


Hardy and Kagy (2018) explore potential causes for the well-documented profit gap between male- and female-owned microenterprises in low-income countries. They use rich data from an ongoing field project in Ghana's garment making sector, and their study sample consists of all garment making firms in a midsize district capital. Even within the same industry, male-owned firms earn nearly twice as much profit as female-owned firms. Furthermore, the authors find the large and persistent gender difference in profits cannot be explained by their extensive firm- and owner-level characteristics. They conclude that factors outside of individual firm or firm-owner characteristics are likely to be at play.


Morgan Hardy

New York University, Abu Dhabi

Gisella Kagy

Vassar College