Gender Gap in Entrepreneurship

51 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2018 Last revised: 6 Sep 2021

See all articles by Jorge Guzman

Jorge Guzman

Columbia University - Columbia Business School; NBER

Aleksandra Kacperczyk

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); London Business School

Date Written: November 11, 2018


Using data on the entire population of businesses registered in the states of California and Massachusetts between 1995 and 2011, we decompose the well-established gender gap in entrepreneurship. We show that female-led ventures are 63 percentage points less likely than male-led ventures to obtain external funding (i.e., venture capital). However, investors’ gendered preferences can, at most, explain about 35 percent of this differential (or 22 percentage points). The most significant portion of the gap (65 percent) stems from gender differences in initial startup orientation, with women being less likely to found ventures that signal growth potential. Moreover, consistent with theories of statistical discrimination, the residual gap diminishes significantly when stronger signals of growth are available to investors for comparable female- and male-led ventures or when focal investors are more sophisticated. Finally, conditional on the reception of external funds (i.e., venture capital), women and men are equally likely to achieve exit outcomes, through IPOs or acquisitions.

Keywords: entrepreneurship, venture capital, gender, discrimination

JEL Classification: L26, J16 , G24

Suggested Citation

Guzman, Jorge and Kacperczyk, Aleksandra, Gender Gap in Entrepreneurship (November 11, 2018). Columbia Business School Research Paper No. 19-3, Available at SSRN: or

Jorge Guzman (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Columbia Business School ( email )

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NBER ( email )

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Aleksandra Kacperczyk

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

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Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

London Business School ( email )

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Regent's Park
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United Kingdom

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