Register for Lindsey Raymond's seminar, April 15th


Title: “Early exposure to entrepreneurship and the creation of female entrepreneurs”

Using registry data from Denmark, we track the educational and professional choices of one million individuals from adolescence to adulthood and investigate the effects of early exposure to entrepreneurs on the gender gap and the allocation of talent in entrepreneurship. We exploit within-school, across-cohort variation in adolescents’ exposure to entrepreneurship, as measured by the share of their peers whose parents are entrepreneurs during the last years of compulsory schooling. We find that higher exposure to entrepreneurs during adolescence narrows gender gaps in entrepreneurship by encouraging girls’ entry and tenure into this profession. The effect is driven by exposure to the parents of female peers and works via a decrease in girls’ likelihood to discontinue education at the end of compulsory schooling and to hold low-paying jobs as adults. The firms created by women are larger and survive longer than the average firm, indicating that a pool of innately talented entrepreneurs are not pursuing their comparative advantage due to gender-specific entry barriers. Our results suggest that such barriers are both cultural and informational in nature and that raising women’s early exposure to entrepreneurship from the 25th to the 75th percentile would increase the total number of jobs created by entrepreneurs by 5.3%.

Presenter: Viola Salvestrini (Queen Mary University of London)

Coauthors: Mikkel Baggesgaard Mertz (Queen Mary University of London) and Maddalena Ronchi (Bocconi University)

Discussant: Kristoph Kleiner (Indiana University)