Entrepreneurship is becoming an increasingly important source of employment for women across many countries. The level of female involvement in entrepreneurial activity, however, is still significantly lower than that of men. We take a behavioral economics approach and, using a large sample of individuals in 17 countries, we investigate what variables influence the entrepreneurial propensity of women and whether those variables have a significant correlation with differences across genders. In addition to demographic and economic variables, we include a number of perceptual variables. Our results show that subjective perceptual variables have a crucial influence on the entrepreneurial propensity of women and account for much of the difference in entrepreneurial activity between the sexes. Specifically, we find that women tend to perceive themselves and the entrepreneurial environment in a less favorable light than men across all countries in our sample and regardless of entrepreneurial motivation. Our results suggest that perceptual variables may be significant universal factors influencing entrepreneurial behavior.
Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice – Wiley
Published: May 1, 2007
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