Small Business:

Evaluation of a Study on Access to Capital

RCED-87-94: Published: May 6, 1987. Publicly Released: Jun 10, 1987.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the methodology the Small Business Administration (SBA) used to compare data on female and male business owners' access to commercial bank loans.

GAO found that: (1) SBA measured small business access to commercial bank credit in relation to loan application success rates, but there was no statistical assurance that the SBA conclusions were generalized to the business population sampled; and (2) low response rates to questionnaires limited the validity of the results on female business owners' access to commercial bank loans. GAO found that, although the analytical technique was appropriate, there were certain factors that affected small business owners' access to commercial capital, such as: (1) potential measurement errors; and (2) the projected cash flow and solvency of their firms.

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