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What drives women out of entrepreneurship? The joint role of testosterone and culture

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  • Guiso, Luigi
  • Rustichini, Aldo

Abstract

The ratio of second to fourth digit (2D4D) has been shown to correlate negatively with entrepreneurial skills and financial success. We document that in a sample of entrepreneurs women have a lower 2D4D ratio than men, in sharp contrast with the features of the distribution in random samples. Exploiting variation across communities in indices correlated with women emancipation, we show that in regions where women are less emancipated their average DR is lower than that of men compared to regions with higher indices. This finding is consistent with the existence of gender related obstacles into entrepreneurship so that only women with well above average entrepreneurial skills find it attractive to self-select into entrepreneurship. This finding can rationalize three facts: a) fewer women than men are entrepreneurs; b) the proportion of women among entrepreneurs tends to be higher in countries with higher women emancipation; c) women who break the barrier into entrepreneurship seem to show more masculine traits. We also find that once women enter entrepreneurship, they are equally able than man to translate their ability into outcomes for the firm.

Suggested Citation

  • Guiso, Luigi & Rustichini, Aldo, 2011. "What drives women out of entrepreneurship? The joint role of testosterone and culture," CEPR Discussion Papers 8204, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8204
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kimball, Miles S & Sahm, Claudia R & Shapiro, Matthew D, 2008. "Imputing Risk Tolerance From Survey Responses," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 103(483), pages 1028-1038.
    2. Anna Dreber & Emma Essen & Eva Ranehill, 2011. "Outrunning the gender gap—boys and girls compete equally," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(4), pages 567-582, November.
    3. Luigi Guiso & Monica Paiella, 2008. "Risk Aversion, Wealth, and Background Risk," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(6), pages 1109-1150, December.
    4. Luigi Guiso & Fabiano Schivardi, 2011. "What Determines Entrepreneurial Clusters?," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 61-86, February.
    5. Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2004. "Gender and Competition at a Young Age," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 377-381, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ruiu, Gabriele, 2012. "Is fatalism a cultural belief? An empirical analysis on the origin of fatalistic tendencies," MPRA Paper 41705, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    digit ratio; entrepreneurial ability; entrepreneurship; testosterone; women emancipation;

    JEL classification:

    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • L21 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Business Objectives of the Firm
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship

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