Gender Differences in Peer Review of Innovation
Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, https://doi.org/10.1002/sej.1429
Posted: 12 Feb 2021 Last revised: 1 Aug 2022
Date Written: November 29, 2020
Gender differences in peer review and the associated impact on innovation financing are well documented but less well understood. We study peer review in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Small Business Innovation Research program, a public initiative seeking to increase women’s access to innovation funds. We theorize that reviewers use status characteristics inappropriately as heuristics and create gender bias. Econometric analysis shows evidence of direct bias against female applicants, an effect linked to challenges for newcomers in demonstrating individual legitimacy rather than concerns of the organizational legitimacy of the associated firm. We also demonstrate a corrective redistribution to reverse this bias and create equity in the funding outcome. As these results negatively impact diversity in innovation, we propose policy recommendations to overcome this bias.
Keywords: Innovation, Peer Review, Gender, SBIR, NASA
JEL Classification: H5, J16, O3, O32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation