Hubris and Humility: Gender Differences in Serial Founding Rates

Posted: 28 Jun 2015  

Venkat Kuppuswamy

University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School

Ethan R. Mollick

University of Pennsylvania - Wharton School

Date Written: June 26, 2015

Abstract

Men are far more likely to start new ventures than women. Drawing on the hubris theory of entrepreneurship, we argue that one explanation of this gap is that women have lower susceptibility to hubris and higher levels of humility, the “male hubris-female humility effect.” Decreased hubris suggests that women faced with low-quality founding opportunities are less likely to engage in entrepreneurship than men. Increased humility implies that women will also make fewer founding attempts than men when opportunity quality is high. Using a data set of serial founders in crowdfunding, we find evidence of both hubris and humility effects decreasing female founding attempts relative to men. While decreased hubris benefits women individually, we argue that it disadvantages women as a group, as it leads to by 23.2% fewer female-led foundings in our sample than would have occurred if women were as immodest and overconfident as men.

Keywords: gender, entrepreneurship, crowdfunding

Suggested Citation

Kuppuswamy, Venkat and Mollick, Ethan R., Hubris and Humility: Gender Differences in Serial Founding Rates (June 26, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2623746 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2623746

Venkat Kuppuswamy

University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School ( email )

Chapel Hill, NC 27599
United States

Ethan R. Mollick (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Wharton School ( email )

The Wharton School
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6370
United States

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