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

See all articles by Andrea Belz

Andrea Belz

University of Southern California - Viterbi School of Engineering

Alexandra Graddy-Reed

Sol Price School of Public Policy University of Southern California

Isabel Hanewicz

University of Southern California

Richard Terrile

Government of the United States of America - Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Date Written: November 29, 2020

Abstract

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

Belz, Andrea and Graddy-Reed, Alexandra and Hanewicz, Isabel and Terrile, Richard, Gender Differences in Peer Review of Innovation (November 29, 2020). Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, https://doi.org/10.1002/sej.1429, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3746733 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3746733

Andrea Belz (Contact Author)

University of Southern California - Viterbi School of Engineering ( email )

3650 McClintock Ave
Los Angeles, CA
United States
2138210829 (Phone)

Alexandra Graddy-Reed

Sol Price School of Public Policy University of Southern California ( email )

Lewis Hall 312
Los Angeles, CA 90089-062
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.graddyreed.com

Isabel Hanewicz

University of Southern California ( email )

2250 Alcazar Street
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

Richard Terrile

Government of the United States of America - Jet Propulsion Laboratory ( email )

Pasadena, CA
United States

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