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Gender Differences in Business Performance: Evidence from the Characteristics of Business Owners Survey

  • Fairlie, Robert
  • Robb, Alicia M.

Using confidential microdata from the U.S. Census Bureau, we investigate the performance of female-owned businesses, making comparisons to male-owned businesses. Using regression estimates and a decomposition technique, we explore the role that human capital, especially through prior work experience, and financial capital play in contributing to why female-owned businesses have lower survival rates, profits, employment and sales. We find that female-owned businesses are less successful than male-owned businesses because they have less startup capital, less business human capital acquired through prior work experience in a similar business, and less prior work experience in a family business. We also find some evidence that female business owners work fewer hours and may have different preferences for the goals of their businesses, which may have implications for business outcomes.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz in its series Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series with number qt8rv5w116.

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Date of creation: 01 Feb 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucscec:qt8rv5w116
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  1. Robert W. Fairlie & Alicia M. Robb, 2008. "Race and Entrepreneurial Success: Black-, Asian-, and White-Owned Businesses in the United States," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026206281x, June.
  2. Rosa, Peter & Carter, Sara & Hamilton, Daphne, 1996. " Gender as a Determinant of Small Business Performance: Insights from a British Study," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 8(6), pages 463-78, December.
  3. F. L. Jones, 1983. "On Decomposing the Wage Gap: A Critical Comment on Blinder's Method," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 18(1), pages 126-130.
  4. Lombard, Karen V, 2001. "Female Self-Employment and Demand for Flexible, Nonstandard Work Schedules," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(2), pages 214-37, April.
  5. Bernard F. Lentz & David N. Laband, 1990. "Entrepreneurial Success and Occupational Inheritance among Proprietors," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 23(3), pages 563-79, August.
  6. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew & Stutzer, Alois, 2001. "Latent entrepreneurship across nations," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 680-691, May.
  7. Kourilsky, Marilyn L. & Walstad, William B., 1998. "Entrepreneurship and female youth: knowledge, attitudes, gender differences, and educational practices," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 77-88, January.
  8. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
  9. Cliff, Jennifer E., 1998. "Does one size fit all? exploring the relationship between attitudes towards growth, gender, and business size," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 13(6), pages 523-542, November.
  10. Oaxaca, Ronald L. & Ransom, Michael R., 1994. "On discrimination and the decomposition of wage differentials," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 5-21, March.
  11. Henning Lohmann, 2001. "Self-employed or employee, full-time or part-time? Gender differences in the determinants and conditions for self-employment in Europe and the US," MZES Working Papers 38, MZES.
  12. Greg Hundley, 2001. "Why Women Earn Less Than Men in Self-Employment," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 22(4), pages 817-829, October.
  13. BodenJR., Richard J. & Nucci, Alfred R., 2000. "On the survival prospects of men's and women's new business ventures," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 347-362, July.
  14. Timothy Bates & Robert McGuckin, 1990. "The Characteristics of Business Owners Data Base," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(4), pages 736-751.
  15. Brian Headd, 1999. "The Characteristics of Business Owners Database, 1992," Working Papers 99-8, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  16. Michael Hout & Harvey S. Rosen, 1999. "Self-Employment, Family Background, and Race," NBER Working Papers 7344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Carter, Nancy M. & Gartner, William B. & Shaver, Kelly G. & Gatewood, Elizabeth J., 2003. "The career reasons of nascent entrepreneurs," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 13-39, January.
  18. David Blanchflower & A Oswald, 1993. "Entrepreneurship," CEP Discussion Papers dp0134, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  19. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521828130 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Astebro, Thomas & Bernhardt, Irwin, 2003. "Start-up financing, owner characteristics, and survival," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 303-319.
  21. Boden, Richard Jr., 1996. "Gender and self-employment selection: An empirical assessment," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 671-682.
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