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Friendship at Work: Can Peer Effects Catalyze Female Entrepreneurship?

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  • Erica Field
  • Seema Jayachandran
  • Rohini Pande
  • Natalia Rigol

Abstract

Does the lack of peers contribute to the observed gender gap in entrepreneurial success? A random sample of customers of India’s largest women's bank was offered two days of business counseling, and a random subsample was invited to attend with a friend. The intervention significantly increased participants' business activity, but only if they were trained with a friend. Those trained with a friend were more likely to have taken out business loans, were less likely to be housewives, and reported increased business activity and higher household income, with stronger impacts among women subject to social norms that restrict female mobility. (JEL G21, J16, J24, L26, M53, O16, Z13)

Suggested Citation

  • Erica Field & Seema Jayachandran & Rohini Pande & Natalia Rigol, 2016. "Friendship at Work: Can Peer Effects Catalyze Female Entrepreneurship?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 125-153, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:8:y:2016:i:2:p:125-53
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.20140215
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stephan Klasen & Janneke Pieters, 2015. "What Explains the Stagnation of Female Labor Force Participation in Urban India?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 29(3), pages 449-478.
    2. Dean Karlan & Martin Valdivia, 2011. "Teaching Entrepreneurship: Impact of Business Training on Microfinance Clients and Institutions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(2), pages 510-527, May.
    3. Kelly Shue, 2013. "Executive Networks and Firm Policies: Evidence from the Random Assignment of MBA Peers," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 26(6), pages 1401-1442.
    4. Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Duflo & Rachel Glennerster & Cynthia Kinnan, 2015. "The Miracle of Microfinance? Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 22-53, January.
    5. Beatriz Armendáriz & Jonathan Morduch, 2010. "The Economics of Microfinance, Second Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262014106, March.
    6. Johannisson, Bengt, 1988. "Business formation -- a network approach," Scandinavian Journal of Management, Elsevier, vol. 4(3-4), pages 83-99.
    7. Ejaz Ghani & William R. Kerr & Stephen D. O'Connell, 2013. "Local industrial structures and female entrepreneurship in India," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(6), pages 929-964, November.
    8. Suresh de Mel & David McKenzie & Christopher Woodruff, 2009. "Returns to Capital in Microenterprises: Evidence from a Field Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(1), pages 423-423.
    9. Benjamin, Dwayne, 1992. "Household Composition, Labor Markets, and Labor Demand: Testing for Separation in Agricultural Household Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 287-322, March.
    10. Erica Field & Rohini Pande & John Papp & Natalia Rigol, 2013. "Does the Classic Microfinance Model Discourage Entrepreneurship among the Poor? Experimental Evidence from India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2196-2226, October.
    11. Xu Lin, 2010. "Identifying Peer Effects in Student Academic Achievement by Spatial Autoregressive Models with Group Unobservables," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(4), pages 825-860, October.
    12. Erica Field & Seema Jayachandran & Rohini Pande, 2010. "Do Traditional Institutions Constrain Female Entrepreneurship? A Field Experiment on Business Training in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 125-129, May.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Rachel Heath & Seema Jayachandran, 2016. "The Causes and Consequences of Increased Female Education and Labor Force Participation in Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 22766, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Sari Pekkala Kerr & William R. Kerr & Tina Xu, 2017. "Personality Traits of Entrepreneurs: A Review of Recent Literature," NBER Working Papers 24097, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Suzuki, Aya & Igei, Kengo, 2017. "Can Efficient Provision of Business Development Services Bring Better Results for SMEs?: Evidence from a Networking Project in Thailand," Working Papers 147, JICA Research Institute.
    4. Vera Rocha & Mirjam van Praag, 2016. "How do Entrepreneurial Bosses influence their Employees' Future Entrepreneurship Choices?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 16-110/VII, Tinbergen Institute.
    5. repec:pal:palcom:v:5:y:2019:i:1:d:10.1057_s41599-019-0215-z is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Mayra Buvinic & Megan O’Donnell, 2017. "Gender Matters in Economic Empowerment Interventions: A Research Review," Working Papers id:11926, eSocialSciences.
    7. Hahn, Youjin & Islam, Asadul & Patacchini, Eleonora & Zenou, Yves, 2018. "Friendship and Female Education: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Bangladeshi Primary Schools," CEPR Discussion Papers 13221, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • M53 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Training
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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