Sex and the Firm: Questioning the Gender-Based Performance Differential

Domenico Depalo, Francesca Lotti


Many empirical analyses find that firms held by women (female-firms) have lower performance than firms held by men; ceteris paribus, the greatest part of the performance gap is attributed to gender-related attitudes . In this paper, we evaluate whether this finding holds also for Italian firms in terms of productivity and returns, focussing on corporations. Italy is a particularly interesting case to analyse in this context because a specific law (L215/92) introduced a tight definition of female firms. We find that female firms tend to cluster in those sectors where interpersonal relations are most important, namely retails, restaurant, hotels. Controlling for observable characteristics, we do not find any significant difference in terms of performances.

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Business and Management Research
ISSN 1927-6001 (Print)   ISSN 1927-601X (Online)

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