The Entrepreneurial Puzzle: Explaining the Gender Gap
25 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2007
Date Written: July 2006
We document the substantial gender gap that exists among university scientists with regard to entrepreneurial activity using a variety of measures and explore factors leading to the disparity. We focus particularly on the biomedical sciences. The contextual explanation that women are under-represented in the types of positions from which faculty typically launch entrepreneurial activity is the most obvious. But the data suggest that for the biomedical sciences context is not sufficient in explaining the entrepreneurial gap. We look elsewhere to factors affecting supply and factors affecting demand. The former include gender differences in attitudes towards risk, competition, "selling" of science, type of research and geographic location. The latter include the role of networks, preferences of venture capitalists and "gender discounting." We explore the associated hypotheses. We provide few tests and conclude that the research agenda is wide open and interesting.
Keywords: Entrepreneur, technology transfer, gender differences, venture capital, scientific productivity
JEL Classification: O31, O34, O38, J44, J71
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