Does a Picture Paint a Thousand Words? Evidence from a Microcredit Marketing Experiment

Examining the impact of psychological cues on women's take up of credit

World Bank's Policy Research Working Paper No. 6020 analyzes a marketing experiment designed to encourage women to adopt a new microcredit product. The product allowed eligible borrowers the opportunity to borrow up to four times the typical loan size. The experiment comprised a brochure with the same content but two different covers which was randomly distributed among male and female borrowing groups. One cover featured five businesses run by men while the other showed identical businesses run by women. Men and women responded to psychological cues. Findings include:

  • Responses to the female brochure were more negative among men who were not business owners, had lower measured ability, and whose wives were less educated;
  • Women business owners with low autonomy within the household also responded negatively to the female brochure;
  • Women with relatively high levels of autonomy had a negative response to the male brochure;
  • Male brochure had no effect on female business owners with autonomy.

Study results suggest that women's response to psychological cues, such as positive role models, may be affected by their level of autonomy at home and more intensive interventions may be required for more disadvantaged women.

About this Publication

By Giné, X., Mansuri, G. , Picón, M.