Gender gap in entrepreneurship


Strategy and Entrepreneurship

Publishing details

Social Sciences Research Network

Authors / Editors

Guzman J; Kacperczyk A


Publication Year



Using data on the entire population of businesses registered in the states of California and Massachusetts between 1995 and 2011, we decompose the well-established gender gap in entrepreneurship. We show that female-led ventures are 63 percentage points less likely than male-led ventures to obtain external funding (i.e., venture capital). However, investors’ gendered preferences can, at most, explain about 35 percent of this differential (or 22 percentage points). The most significant portion of the gap (65 percent) stems from gender differences in initial startup orientation, with women being less likely to found ventures that signal growth potential. Moreover, consistent with theories of statistical discrimination, the residual gap diminishes significantly when stronger signals of growth are available to investors for comparable female- and male-led ventures or when focal investors are more sophisticated. Finally, conditional on the reception of external funds (i.e., venture capital), women and men are equally likely to achieve exit outcomes, through IPOs or acquisitions.


entrepreneurship; venture capital; gender; discrimination


Social Sciences Research Network