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
Date Written: March 2008
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: Suggested Citation