Try, Try Again? Gender Differences in Self-Assessment and Evaluation of Innovation in the NASA SBIR program
47 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2021
Date Written: November 29, 2020
Gender differences in innovation financing are well documented but poorly understood. We study applicants to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Small Business Innovation Research program, an initiative seeking to increase access for women. Suggesting that underlying confidence disparities affect the selection process for female proposers, we find that: (1) prior application experience and a patenting history predict selection, but only for males; (2) females develop earlier-stage technologies, and highly qualified women underestimate their projects’ technical maturity; and (3) highly qualified female applicants receive a boost in a selection indicator in the first funding phase, but the average pool of women scores lower in the second phase - which we name a “Mattea” effect. These results impact diversity in innovation.
Keywords: Innovation, R &D Funding, Gender, SBIR, NASA, Technology Readiness
JEL Classification: H5, J16, O3, O32
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