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Title: Contesting the underperformance thesis of women entrepreneurs: firm-level evidence from South Africa

Authors: Colin C. Williams; Abbi Kedir

Addresses: Sheffield University Management School, University of Sheffield, Conduit Road, Sheffield S10 1FL, UK ' Sheffield University Management School, University of Sheffield, Conduit Road, Sheffield S10 1FL, UK

Abstract: This paper provides one of the first known evaluations of whether enterprises in which women are owners underperform male-owned enterprises in the developing world. Until now, the widespread assumption, mostly from developed world studies, has been that enterprises in which women are owners underperform male-owned enterprises. To evaluate this in developing countries where there is a dearth of studies, cross-sectional data are reported from a 2007 World Bank enterprise survey of 937 South African enterprises. The finding is that enterprises that are women-owned or jointly owned by men and women perform better than those owned solely by men, after controlling for other determinants of firm performance as well as potential sample selection bias. The outcome is a call to transcend the underperformance thesis regarding women entrepreneurs and for greater resources to be devoted to the promotion of women's entrepreneurship and women's involvement in firm ownership.

Keywords: development economics; enterprise development; entrepreneurship; firm performance; gender; South Africa.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMED.2018.088327

International Journal of Management and Enterprise Development, 2018 Vol.17 No.1, pp.21 - 35

Available online: 07 Aug 2017 *

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