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Family comes first: Reproductive health and the gender gap in entrepreneurship

Jonathan Zandberg

Journal of Financial Economics, 2021, vol. 140, issue 3, 838-864

Abstract: Better access to reproductive healthcare increases women’s propensity to become entrepreneurs. Access correlates positively with female entrepreneurial activity and negatively with female entrepreneurial age. Examining firm size and personal income suggests it also improves the success of female-led businesses. None of these results hold when tested on men, women above 40, or other placebo professions. To establish causality, I exploit Roe v. Wade, state laws restricting abortion providers, and an index tracking state-level regulation of reproductive care. All three analyses suggest that policies securing better reproductive care enable more women to become entrepreneurs. I conclude by discussing various possible channels and mechanisms.

Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Self-employment; Gender; Abortions; Reproductive rights (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D71 I14 J13 J23 L26 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jfineco.2020.06.020

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