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Firms and gender: performance differentials between male and female firms

Author

Listed:
  • Domenico Depalo

    (Bank of Italy)

  • Francesca Lotti

    (Bank of Italy)

Abstract

Many empirical analyses find that the performance of firms headed by women (female firms) varies with respect to those headed by men and that the greatest part of this gap is due to observable characteristics (i.e. gender) related to firms� characteristics. In this paper we evaluate whether this finding also holds for Italy in terms of productivity and returns.The classification of firms by gender follows that prescribed in Law 215/92; for the purposes of this paper only partnerships and private and public corporations were considered, the sole legal forms for which balance sheets are available. Whilst male firms operate in almost all sectors, female firms tend to cluster in those areas where interpersonal relations are most important, namely the retail sector, restaurants, hotels etc.. In terms of performance, measured by profitability and productivity (and even when controlling by sector and company size), there do not appear to be any significant differences between male and female enterprises.

Suggested Citation

  • Domenico Depalo & Francesca Lotti, 2013. "Firms and gender: performance differentials between male and female firms," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 184, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdi:opques:qef_184_13
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Du Rietz, Anita & Henrekson, Magnus, 2000. "Testing the Female Underperformance Hypothesis," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 1-10, February.
    2. Sandra Gottschalk & Michaela Niefert, 2013. "Gender differences in business success of German start-up firms," International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 18(1), pages 15-46.
    3. Uri Gneezy & Muriel Niederle & Aldo Rustichini, 2003. "Performance in Competitive Environments: Gender Differences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1049-1074.
    4. Fischer, Eileen M. & Reuber, A. Rebecca & Dyke, Lorraine S., 1993. "A theoretical overview and extension of research on sex, gender, and entrepreneurship," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 151-168, March.
    5. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-474, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    female entrepreneurship; gender economic differences;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance

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