Gender, Race, and Entrepreneurship: A Randomized Field Experiment on Venture Capitalists and Angels

62 Pages Posted: 16 Dec 2019 Last revised: 21 Aug 2020

See all articles by Will Gornall

Will Gornall

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Sauder School of Business

Ilya A. Strebulaev

Stanford University - Graduate School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research

Date Written: March 31, 2020

Abstract

We study gender and race in high-impact entrepreneurship using a tightly controlled randomized field experiment. We sent out 80,000 pitch emails introducing promising but fictitious start-ups to 28,000 venture capitalists and angels. Each email was sent by a fictitious entrepreneur with randomly assigned gender and race. Female entrepreneurs received 9% more interested replies than males pitching identical projects and Asians received 6% more than Whites. Our results suggest that investors do not discriminate against female or Asian entrepreneurs when evaluating unsolicited pitch emails and that future research on investor biases should focus on networks and in-person interactions.

Keywords: gender, race, entrepreneurship, angel investing, venture capital, bias, audit study, correspondence study, experiment

JEL Classification: G24, J16, J71, L26

Suggested Citation

Gornall, Will and Strebulaev, Ilya A., Gender, Race, and Entrepreneurship: A Randomized Field Experiment on Venture Capitalists and Angels (March 31, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3301982 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3301982

Will Gornall (Contact Author)

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Sauder School of Business ( email )

2053 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2
Canada

Ilya A. Strebulaev

Stanford University - Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

HOME PAGE: http://faculty-gsb.stanford.edu/strebulaev/

National Bureau of Economic Research ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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