Female Business Leaders, Business and Cultural Environment, and Productivity Around the World

46 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2020

See all articles by Sheng Fang

Sheng Fang

World Bank - Development Research Group

Chorching Goh

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Mark Roberts

World Bank

L. Colin Xu

World Bank

Albert Zeufack

World Bank

Date Written: June 11, 2020

Abstract

Studies of female business leaders and economic performance are rarely conducted with worldwide observational data, and with considerations on the underlying cultural, institutional, and business environment. This paper uses worldwide, firm-level data from more than 100 countries to study how female-headed firms differ from male-headed firms in productivity level and growth, and whether the female leader performance disparity hinges on the underlying environment. Female-headed firms account for about 11 percent of firms and are more prevalent in countries with better rule of law, gender equality, and stronger individualistic culture. On average, female-headed firms have 9 to 16 percent lower productivity and 1.6 percentage points lower labor productivity growth, compared with male-headed firms. The disadvantage is mainly in manufacturing firms, largely nonexistent in service firms, and present in relatively small firms. Although the female leader performance disadvantage is surprisingly not related to gender equality, it is smaller where there is less emphasis on personal networks (better rule of law, lower trade credit linkages, lower usage of bank credit, and more equalizing internet), less competition, and the culture is more collective. The study does not find that the female leader disadvantage is amplified in corrupt environments. Africa differs significantly in that it features lower female disadvantage, stronger female advantage in services relative to manufacturing, and stronger sensitivity of female business leaders to electricity provision and bank credit access.

Suggested Citation

Fang, Sheng and Goh, Chorching and Roberts, Mark and Xu, L. Colin and Zeufack, Albert, Female Business Leaders, Business and Cultural Environment, and Productivity Around the World (June 11, 2020). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 9275, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3625289

Sheng Fang (Contact Author)

World Bank - Development Research Group

Washington, DC 20433
United States

Chorching Goh

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Mark Roberts

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

L. Colin Xu

World Bank

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Albert Zeufack

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
60
Abstract Views
273
rank
421,376
PlumX Metrics