Hohenheim Discussion Papers in Business, Economics and Social Sciences 07-2020
The relationship between female empowerment and economic development is one of the most complex examples of reverse causality, yet multiple scholars acknowledge that female empowerment promotes economic progress. One of the crucial aspects of female empowerment is female entrepreneurship; however, the literature on the emergence of female entrepreneurship is scarce. We focus on the rise of female entrepreneurship in Serbia and collect an extensive biographical dataset of women, who took part in privatization. Although women enjoyed the same de jure rights as men, they faced a number of informal restrictions such as i) patriarchal values, limiting the role of women in the society and ii) occupations in low-wage sectors, making it difficult to accumulate capital. Analyzing the determinants of failures of the newly privatized firms during 2002-2019 we find a significant negative relationship between the risks of failure and the cases of own independent entrepreneurial success of women prior to privatization as well as the cases, in which only the entrepreneurial success of husbands of these women was registered. This relationship is robust to controlling for diverse characteristics of firms and to inclusion of ownership duration. We also find that the presence of influential husbands in the background was not significantly related to the subsequent change of ownership. Although the ownership change was registered for the majority of firms in our sample, we find that during the Serbian privatization women managed to build up on their own entrepreneurial success, which contributed to female empowerment. These findings can be relevant for understanding the aftermath of privatizations with respect to gender inequality in other transition countries.
entrepreneurship female entrepreneurship economics of gender political economy transition