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The Gender Gap in Entrepreneurship: Not just a Matter of Personality

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  • Marco Caliendo
  • Frank M. Fossen
  • Alexander Kritikos
  • Miriam Wetter

Abstract

Why do entrepreneurship rates differ so markedly by gender? Using data from a large representative German household panel, we investigate to what extent personality traits, human capital, and the employment history influence the start-up decision and can explain the gender gap in entrepreneurship. Applying a decomposition analysis, we observe that the higher risk aversion among women explains a large share of the entrepreneurial gender gap. We also find an education effect contributing to the gender difference. In contrast, the Big Five model and the current employment state have effects in the opposite direction, meaning that the gender gap in entrepreneurial entry would be even larger if women had the same scores and the same employment status as men. (JEL codes: L26, J16, D81, J24, M13).

Suggested Citation

  • Marco Caliendo & Frank M. Fossen & Alexander Kritikos & Miriam Wetter, 2015. "The Gender Gap in Entrepreneurship: Not just a Matter of Personality," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 61(1), pages 202-238.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cesifo:v:61:y:2015:i:1:p:202-238.
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    1. Fossen, Frank M. & König, Johannes, 2015. "Public health insurance and entry into self-employment," VfS Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 112934, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Jisheng Yang & Di Ai, 2019. "Effect of the Big Five Personality Traits on Entrepreneurial Probability: Influence of China’s Household Registration System," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 40(4), pages 487-503, December.
    3. Werner Bönte & Sandro Lombardo & Diemo Urbig, 2016. "Economics meets Psychology:Experimental and self-reported Measures of Individual Competitiveness," Schumpeter Discussion Papers SDP16006, Universitätsbibliothek Wuppertal, University Library.
    4. Daniel Graeber & Alexander S. Kritikos & Johannes Seebauer, 2021. "COVID-19: a crisis of the female self-employed," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 34(4), pages 1141-1187, October.
    5. Zhengyu Cai & Heather M. Stephens & John V. Winters, 2019. "Motherhood, migration, and self-employment of college graduates," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 53(3), pages 611-629, October.
    6. Emma Galli & Danilo Valerio Mascia & Stefania Patrizia Sonia Rossi, 2018. "Does Corruption Influence the Self-Restraint Attitude of Women-led SMEs towards Bank Lending?," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 64(3), pages 426-455.
    7. Dileni Gunewardena & Abdoulaye Seck, 2020. "Heterogeneity in entrepreneurship in developing countries: Risk, credit, and migration and the entrepreneurial propensity of youth and women," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(3), pages 713-725, August.
    8. Fossen, Frank M. & Neyse, Levent & Johannesson, Magnus & Dreber Almenberg, Anna, 2020. "2D:4D and Self-Employment Using SOEP Data: A Replication Study," IZA Discussion Papers 13180, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Igor Serpa Moraes & Roque Pinto de Camargo Neto & Vivian S. Queiroz Orellana & Gabrielito Rauter Menezes, 2020. "Entrepreneurship in Brazil: A Worthy Endeavor?," International Journal of Economics and Finance, Canadian Center of Science and Education, vol. 12(7), pages 1-98, July.
    10. Marco Caliendo & Steffen Künn, 2015. "Getting back into the labor market: the effects of start-up subsidies for unemployed females," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(4), pages 1005-1043, October.
    11. Caliendo, Marco & Künn, Steffen & Weissenberger, Martin, 2020. "Catching up or lagging behind? The long-term business and innovation potential of subsidized start-ups out of unemployment," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(10).
    12. Nick Williams & Besnik A. Krasniqi, 2018. "Coming out of conflict: How migrant entrepreneurs utilise human and social capital," Journal of International Entrepreneurship, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 301-323, June.
    13. Caliendo, Marco & Künn, Steffen & Weißenberger, Martin, 2016. "Personality traits and the evaluation of start-up subsidies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 87-108.
    14. Takanori Adachi & Takanori Hisada, 2017. "Gender differences in entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship: an empirical analysis," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 48(3), pages 447-486, March.
    15. Helena Marques, 2017. "Gender, entrepreneurship and development: which policies matter?," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 35(2), pages 197-228, January.
    16. Striebing, Clemens & Kalpazidou Schmidt, Evanthia & Palmén, Rachel, 2019. "Pragmatic ex-ante evaluation using an innovative conceptual framework: The case of a high-tech entrepreneurship program for women," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 77(C).
    17. Luisa Fernanda Bernat & German Lambardi & Paola Palacios, 2017. "Determinants of the entrepreneurial gender gap in Latin America," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 48(3), pages 727-752, March.
    18. Luis Alejandro Lopez-Agudo & Oscar David Marcenaro Gutierrez & Helena Ferreira-Marques, 2016. "Gender, institutions and educational achievement: a cross country comparison," Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación volume 11, in: José Manuel Cordero Ferrera & Rosa Simancas Rodríguez (ed.), Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación 11, edition 1, volume 11, chapter 20, pages 383-400, Asociación de Economía de la Educación.
    19. Fossen, Frank M. & Sorgner, Alina, 2021. "Digitalization of work and entry into entrepreneurship," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 548-563.
    20. Fossen, Frank M., 2019. "Entrepreneurship over the Business Cycle in the United States: A Decomposition," IZA Discussion Papers 12499, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    21. Francisco Liñán & Inmaculada Jaén & Domingo Martín, 2022. "Does entrepreneurship fit her? Women entrepreneurs, gender-role orientation, and entrepreneurial culture," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 58(2), pages 1051-1071, February.
    22. Zandberg, Jonathan, 2021. "Family comes first: Reproductive health and the gender gap in entrepreneurship," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 140(3), pages 838-864.
    23. Müller, Klaus & Erlei, Alexander, 2016. "Frauen gehen in Führung - Frauen als Unternehmerinnen im Handwerk, unter besonderer Berücksichtigung des Handwerkskammerbezirks Düsseldorf," Göttinger Beiträge zur Handwerksforschung 9, Volkswirtschaftliches Institut für Mittelstand und Handwerk an der Universität Göttingen (ifh).
    24. Selin Dilli & Gerarda Westerhuis, 2018. "How institutions and gender differences in education shape entrepreneurial activity: a cross-national perspective," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 51(2), pages 371-392, August.
    25. Frank M. Fossen, 2021. "Self-employment over the business cycle in the USA: a decomposition," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 57(4), pages 1837-1855, December.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups

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