Abstract

Despite the importance of innovation for firm performance and also the creation of new jobs and wealth, gendered studies of innovation, entrepreneurship, and growth remain scarce. The main objective of our study is to develop and empirically test a model of the effect of gender on firm innovativeness. We extend nascent work on this topic in two key ways. First, we invoke an inclusive conceptualization of innovation by studying its different types (i.e., product, process, market and organizational) and also its’ different degrees of novelty (i.e., new-to-firm versus new-to-market and incremental versus radical). Second, extending a recently developed entrepreneurship theory, we suggest that differences in the scope of innovation exhibited by male versus female-headed firms can partially be explained by key differences in the knowledge diversity and career paths of the individuals heading such firms. Specifically, we call attention to differences in the extent to which male and female entrepreneurs are likely to possess skills indicative of being “jacks and jills of all trades”.

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