And the Children Shall Lead: Gender Diversity and Performance in Venture Capital

22 Pages Posted: 24 May 2017 Last revised: 7 Sep 2021

See all articles by Sophie Calder-Wang

Sophie Calder-Wang

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School

Paul A. Gompers

Harvard Business School - Finance Unit; Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 01, 2021


With an overall lack of gender and ethnic diversity in the innovation sector documented in Gompers and Wang (2017), we ask the natural next question: Does increased diversity lead to better firm performances? In this paper, we attempt to answer this question using a unique dataset of the gender of venture capital partners’ children. First, we find strong evidence that parenting more daughters leads to an increased propensity to hire female partners by venture capital firms. Second, using an instrumental variable set-up, we also show that improved gender diversity, induced by parenting more daughters, improves deal and fund performances. These effects concentrate overwhelmingly on the daughters of senior partners than junior partners. Taken together, our findings have profound implications on how the capital markets could function better with improved diversity.

JEL Classification: G02, G24, G30, L14, L20

Suggested Citation

Calder-Wang, Sophie and Gompers, Paul A., And the Children Shall Lead: Gender Diversity and Performance in Venture Capital (October 01, 2021). Harvard Business School Finance Working Paper No. 17-103, Harvard Business School Entrepreneurial Management Working Paper No. 17-103, Journal of Financial Economics (JFE), Vol. 142, No. 1, 2021, Available at SSRN: or

Sophie Calder-Wang

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School ( email )

3641 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States

Paul A. Gompers (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School - Finance Unit ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-6297 (Phone)
617-496-8443 (Fax)

Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit ( email )

Cambridge, MA 02163
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o the Royal Academies of Belgium
Rue Ducale 1 Hertogsstraat
1000 Brussels


Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics