Female Leaders and Employee Effort: A Multi-method Study of Entrepreneurial Firms

64 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2021

See all articles by Aleksandra Kacperczyk

Aleksandra Kacperczyk

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); London Business School

Peter Younkin

University of Oregon

Vera Rocha

Copenhagen Business School

Date Written: September 1, 2021

Abstract

Ample research has documented that female founders are disadvantaged in entrepreneurship, but few theories explain how their disadvantage carries over into later stages of the entrepreneurial process. We combine evidence from longitudinal matched employer-employee data covering all founders of new ventures with personnel in Portugal between 2002 and 2012 with two online experiments to document a novel source of disadvantage for female founders: employee labor imbalance. We propose that female-founded ventures receive a lower amount of employee labor for equal pay because employees are more likely to decline requests for additional labor by female founders. First, using observational data, we confirm that full-time employees contribute fewer regular hours and less overtime work to female-founded firms. Second, using a series of online experiments, we show that this variation in employee labor across female and male-founded firms is partly motivated by a difference in the employee’s expectations of work demands. Specifically, employees perceive female founders’ requests for additional labor to be unfair and more difficult than expected, and both of these perceptions explain the lower amount of employee labor supplied in female-founded ventures. Overall, our findings uncover a novel mechanism that helps explain the existence of a gender gap in entrepreneurship beyond the entry stage.

Keywords: Entrepreneurship, Gender Inequality, Employment, Hiring

JEL Classification: M13, M14, M51, J7,

Suggested Citation

Kacperczyk, Aleksandra and Younkin, Peter and Rocha, Vera, Female Leaders and Employee Effort: A Multi-method Study of Entrepreneurial Firms (September 1, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3920608 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3920608

Aleksandra Kacperczyk

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

London Business School ( email )

Sussex Place
Regent's Park
London, London NW1 4SA
United Kingdom

Peter Younkin (Contact Author)

University of Oregon ( email )

1280 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403
United States

Vera Rocha

Copenhagen Business School ( email )

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

Paper statistics

Downloads
57
Abstract Views
283
rank
490,323
PlumX Metrics