Abstract

Prior studies examining and comparing the performance of female- and male-controlled SMEs have generally found that female-controlled SMEs under-perform male-controlled SMEs on a variety of measures such as revenue, profit, growth and closure rates. However, it is conceivable that the performance measures used by previous studies might have contributed to this finding. For example, few studies control for size, and yet we know that female-controlled SMEs tend to be smaller, on average, than their male counterparts. Similarly, risk is typically not controlled, and yet we know that women tend to be more risk averse than men. It is also possible, due to data limitations, that many prior studies were unable to adequately control for other important demographic differences such as: age, industry, education and experience. Using two large longitudinal (four-year) databases (one from Australia and the other from the U.S.) the aim of this paper, therefore, is to determine whether potential differences in the performance of male- and female-controlled SMEs disappear when appropriate size and risk adjusted performance measures are used and other key demographic differences are controlled.

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