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Economic Opportunities for Women in the East Asia and Pacific Region

Assets that Affect Opportunities for Entrepreneurship

internal assets

external assets

Figure 2.1

labor

land

human capital

credit

time

regulations and law mediated by norms and institutions

access outcomes Source: Authors.

Land Secure rights to property generally, and to land in particular, are crucial to entrepreneurial agency and success in the region because collateralbased lending continues to be the dominant form of lending, especially in developing countries (OECD 2003; Sheng 2003; Gochoco-Baustista 2009). Women’s access to land thus determines, in part, their access to credit, which is crucial for starting and expanding their businesses. Where women’s property rights are insecure, or not granted at all because of discriminatory inheritance and matrimonial laws and practices, women either cannot go into business or end up operating informally in small enterprises or microenterprises. In addition, where property is registered only in their husbands’ names, women may be forced to take out loans and register businesses in their husbands’ names, forgoing ultimate control of their businesses. That discriminatory practices can affect economic outcomes for women is shown in figure 2.2, which plots the correlations between female-to-male adult literacy ratios and employer ratios, disaggregated by country performance on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Inheritance Practices Indicator. As discrimination increases, the correlation becomes progressively flatter. Again, correlation does not imply causality. What we can take away from this simple correlation, however, is that discriminatory practices can potentially distort the relationships between normal labor market outcomes and education through their interaction with women’s access to assets.

Economic Opportunities for Women in the East Asia and Pacific Region  
Economic Opportunities for Women in the East Asia and Pacific Region  

The East Asia and Pacific region has made great progress, relative to other regions, with regard to both economic development and, specifica...