Gender and Entrepreneurship
Friday, Jan. 3, 2020 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM (PDT)
- Chair: Rembrand Koning, Harvard Business School
Biased Experiments and the Direction of Product Innovation
AbstractUsing detailed data from the online-platform Product Hunt, we show that male and female consumers systematically differ in their preferences for new technology-based products. For each product, we compute a continuous text-based score measuring the gender orientation of the product’s consumer base. We estimate consumer preferences toward products by combining proprietary browsing data with API voting history, and show that the difference between female and male preferences increases in this new product gender measure. Using this measure, we find that female-oriented products acquire significantly fewer new users than male-oriented products upon launching on Product Hunt, and that the difference persists over time. This pattern holds even when the entrepreneurs developing women-oriented products are male. Using the content of daily newsletters as a source of exogenous variation in female user participation on the platform, we find evidence that attracting more women onto the platform leads to improved user acquisition outcome for female-oriented products. Our results highlight how biased signals of demand might bend the direction of product-innovations away form the needs of female consumers. Female entrepreneurs and consumers might lose out when the key gatekeepers to commercialization are mostly male.
Does Gender Matter for Small Business Performance? Experimental Evidence from India
AbstractMany well-known studies have shown that female-owned micro-enterprises are less
profitable and have lower returns to capital than their male counterparts. This raises
an important question: what drives the estimated gender gap in business performance?
We examine this question in the context of vegetable sellers in Jaipur, India, a context
where observationally women make less than men. We conduct two field experiments
that keep every business aspect the same except for the gender of the owner, business
aspects such as location, goods supplied, and hours of operation. In Experiment 1, we
isolate demand-side constraints by training confederate sellers to sell packaged goods
at fixed prices using a standardized script, thereby additionally controlling for seller
behavior. In Experiment 2, we only control for supply-side characteristics. In both
experiments, we find that women earn at least as much as men. Our results demonstrate
that the estimated gender earnings gap in this context is not due to differential demand-side
constraints or seller behavior, but instead is likely driven by differences in access
The Illegitimacy Premium: The Effect of Entrepreneurship on the Future Employment of Women
AbstractUsing evidence from a resume-based audit and a survey of Marketing and HR executives, this study assesses the effect of pursuing entrepreneurship on the future employment of women. Whereas much research has focused on promoting female entry into entrepreneurship, much less attention has been devoted to understanding whether women are penalized or rewarded when they attempt to re-integrate into paid employment. We propose that, whereas double standards put women at a disadvantage in entering entrepreneurship, the same double-standards might benefit them at exit into paid employment. To the extent that audiences in one context (paid employment) view women as subject to double standards in another context (entrepreneurship), this will likely benefit female entrepreneurs by inclining the audiences (employers) to perceive them as more favorable job candidate (i.e., less likely to de-commit). We find evidence for this claim with data from the audit study and experimental survey on HR professionals.
- O0 - General
- J7 - Labor Discrimination