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Seeing the World with Different Eyes: Gender Differences in Perceptions and the Propensity to Start a Business

Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper No. 2008-035/3

38 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2008  

Philipp Koellinger

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam; Erasmus School of Economics; Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

Maria Minniti

Syracuse University - Whitman School of Management

Christian Schade

Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin

Date Written: March 2008

Abstract

Across countries, women own significantly fewer businesses than do men. We show that this is due, in large part, to the fact that the propensity to start businesses of women is significantly lower than that of men. The lower propensity of women, in turn, appears to be highly correlated to women's lower average levels of optimism and self-confidence, and higher fear of failure. Ceteris paribus, women and men have different perceptions of the business environment and, as a result, make different decisions. We provide some evidence that this may be universally true and independent from culture, although country specific factors seem to influence perceptual differences between genders. We also show that women who are more self-confident and undeterred by failure have a greater probability to start a business than men with similar characteristics.

Keywords: Nascent entrepreneurship, gender, perceptions, judgment and decision making

JEL Classification: J0, J2

Suggested Citation

Koellinger, Philipp and Minniti, Maria and Schade, Christian, Seeing the World with Different Eyes: Gender Differences in Perceptions and the Propensity to Start a Business (March 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1115354 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1115354

Philipp Koellinger (Contact Author)

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
Amsterdam, ND North Holland 1081 HV
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://www.philipp-koellinger.com

Erasmus School of Economics ( email )

Netherlands

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

Maria Minniti

Syracuse University - Whitman School of Management ( email )

721 University Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2130
United States

Christian Schade

Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin ( email )

School of Business and Economics
Unter den Linden 6
Berlin, Berlin 10099
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://enim.wiwi.hu-berlin.de/index-en.html

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