Doctoral Student Seminar: Race Differentials in the Credit Market Experiences of Small Business Owners: Improved Estimates

Jeonghun Kim

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Small businesses employ more than half of the entire workforce, account for more than 60 percent of new jobs created in the United States and are responsible for about 50 percent of private domestic gross product. It is noteworthy, however, that small business owners in credit markets, in particular minority owners, have difficulty in securing sources of capital for their business operation. The literature on credit market discrimination shows consistent results that can be interpreted as evidence that minority owners are discriminated against compared to their counterparts (i.e., white owners) in obtaining loans, which may be caused by lenders’ discrimination, although such behavior is prohibited under current fair-lending laws. This paper uses pooled cross sectional data from the Survey of Small Business Finances (1993, 1998, and 2003) and a bivariate probit model based on Heckman’s approach to deal with sample selection bias for those choosing to apply for loans that has been ignored in analyses of credit markets for small businesses owners. Our analyses confirm previous results suggesting that minority owners are discriminated against in credit markets. These conclusions are supported in a variety of model specifications.

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