This article examines how gender may account for productivity gaps across enterprises. First, using data from six countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, the article demonstrates that the extent and significance of any productivity gap by gender depends critically on the criteria used to classify an enterprise. Using a definition of ‘female participation in ownership,’ there are few differences in average performance measures. However, a 12% productivity gap emerges when a tighter definition, based on decision-making control, is used. Second, the article examines which entrepreneurial characteristics (education, management skills, experience and the motivation for being an entrepreneur) are most associated with higher productivity. The findings reveal that there are some gender gaps in the prevalence of these characteristics, but that these do not account for the overall gender productivity gap. Rather, while women benefit as much as men from education and management skills, there are non-linear impacts by gender in the benefits of having a family background in entrepreneurship; sons rather than daughters benefit from having a father that was an entrepreneur or from joining a family enterprise.
Small Business Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 14, 2011
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