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Second Thoughts About Second Acts: Gender Differences in Serial Founding Rates

39 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2016  

Venkat Kuppuswamy

University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School

Ethan R. Mollick

University of Pennsylvania - Wharton School

Date Written: March 21, 2016

Abstract

Men are far more likely to start new ventures than women. We argue that one explanation of this gap is that women respond differently to signals of past entrepreneurial success due to the “male hubris, female humility” effect. We argue that as a result women are disproportionately less likely to persist in second founding attempts than men when they have succeeded or failed by large margins. Using a data set of serial founders in crowdfunding, we find evidence supporting this prediction. We then turn to a unique survey of founders in crowdfunding in order to examine alternative explanations. We find support for a variety of systematic differences between male and female founders, but the persistence effect remains. While decreased persistence in the face of low quality opportunities benefits women individually, we argue that it disadvantages women as a group, as it leads to 25.3% fewer female-led foundings in our sample than would have occurred if women reacted similarly to men.

Suggested Citation

Kuppuswamy, Venkat and Mollick, Ethan R., Second Thoughts About Second Acts: Gender Differences in Serial Founding Rates (March 21, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2752689 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2752689

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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