This paper provides new empirical evidence on the relative productivity disadvantage of female-owned firms compared to male-owned firms in a developing country setting. We rely on a large panel of manufacturing firms based on an annual census run by the Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia. Our preferred estimation shows a 12% difference in levels of total factor productivity between female- and male-owned firms. Drawing on novel quantile approaches to formally compare productivity distributions, we also dig deeper into some of the potential mechanisms underlying this gender-based firm productivity gap. Our findings suggest that various forces are at work. Most female-owned firms seem to concentrate in certain less productive sub-sectors and only very few succeed in standing out. Moreover, lower productivity of female-owned firms is shown to relate to a combination of observed firm characteristics and unobserved structural factors that varies according to a firm’s position in the overall productivity distribution.

The Productivity Gaps of Female-Owned Firms: Evidence from Ethiopian Census Data

Sanfilippo, Marco
2019

Abstract

This paper provides new empirical evidence on the relative productivity disadvantage of female-owned firms compared to male-owned firms in a developing country setting. We rely on a large panel of manufacturing firms based on an annual census run by the Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia. Our preferred estimation shows a 12% difference in levels of total factor productivity between female- and male-owned firms. Drawing on novel quantile approaches to formally compare productivity distributions, we also dig deeper into some of the potential mechanisms underlying this gender-based firm productivity gap. Our findings suggest that various forces are at work. Most female-owned firms seem to concentrate in certain less productive sub-sectors and only very few succeed in standing out. Moreover, lower productivity of female-owned firms is shown to relate to a combination of observed firm characteristics and unobserved structural factors that varies according to a firm’s position in the overall productivity distribution.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11586/227464
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