Venture Capital's “Me Too” Moment

49 Pages Posted: 12 Apr 2021 Last revised: 13 May 2022

See all articles by Sophie Calder-Wang

Sophie Calder-Wang

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School

Paul A. Gompers

Harvard Business School - Finance Unit; Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Patrick Sweeney

Harvard Business School

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 2021

Abstract

In this paper, we document the historically low rate of hiring of women in the venture capital sector. We find that the high-profile Ellen Pao v. Kleiner Perkins gender discrimination trial had dramatic treatment effects. In difference-in-differences regressions, we find that the rate of hiring of female venture capitalists increased substantially after the trial and that the hiring was more pronounced in states that were more receptive to the exposure. We use the state-level mandated maternity benefits as an instrument for the receptivity to the treatment effects of the Pao Trial. We also show that the fraction of founders who are female increases after the Pao Trial, but that the increase is driven entirely by the hiring of female venture capitalists. There is no increase in the propensity of male venture capitalists to invest in female founders in the post-Pao Trial period.

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Suggested Citation

Calder-Wang, Sophie and Gompers, Paul A. and Sweeney, Patrick, Venture Capital's “Me Too” Moment (April 2021). NBER Working Paper No. w28679, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3824562

Sophie Calder-Wang (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School ( email )

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Paul A. Gompers

Harvard Business School - Finance Unit ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States
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617-496-8443 (Fax)

Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit ( email )

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United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

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Patrick Sweeney

Harvard Business School

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