Working Paper

Female Owners Versus Female Managers: Who is Better at Introducing Innovations?


  • Dohse
  • D.
  • Goel
  • R.
  • Nelson
  • M.A.
Publication Date

This paper uses firm-level survey responses across more than 100 emerging and developing countries to examine whether female managers or female owners of firms were better at bringing innovations to the market. Employing a range of firm-specific and country-specific controls, the econometric results show that female owners of firms, rather than female managers, were more likely to introduce innovations. As expected, innovations resulted from firms engaging in R&D. Larger and older firms reinforced these tendencies; however, sole proprietorships had the opposite effect. The presence of an informal sector and finance availability constraints actually spurred innovation. Finally, the economy-wide effects of greater economic freedom and stronger patent protections were positive, while greater economic prosperity somewhat led to complacency.

Kiel Institute Experts


JEL Classification
J16, O32, O33, O57

Key Words

  • female
  • firm size
  • innovation
  • managers
  • owners
  • patent protection
  • R&D
  • sole proprietorship