NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
loading...

Invisible Women: Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Family Firms in France during Early Industrialization

B. Zorina Khan

NBER Working Paper No. 20854
Issued in January 2015
NBER Program(s):The Program on the Development of the American Economy, The Development Economics Program, The Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Program

Family firms are typically associated with negative characteristics, including lower tendencies towards innovation, a higher risk of failure, and inefficiencies deriving from nepotism among family members, criticisms which are even greater when the company is handed over to a female relative. Women in business have generally been presented as petty traders and passive investors, whose entrepreneurial activities were scarce because of such restrictions as limited human capital, culture, market imperfections, and institutional biases. The French economy has similarly been faulted for the prevalence of family firms during the nineteenth century, and for disincentives for the integration of women in the business sector. These issues are explored using an extensive sample of women who obtained patents and prizes at industrial exhibitions during early industrialization. The empirical evidence indicates that middle-class women in France were extensively engaged in entrepreneurship and innovation, and that their commercial efforts were enhanced by association with family firms. Their formerly invisible achievements suggest a more productive role for family-based enterprises, as a means of incorporating relatively disadvantaged groups into the market economy as managers and entrepreneurs.

download in pdf format
   (641 K)

email paper

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20854

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Khan w20853 Knowledge, Human Capital and Economic Development: Evidence from the British Industrial Revolution, 1750-1930
Akerman, Gaarder, and Mogstad w20826 The Skill Complementarity of Broadband Internet
Hombert, Schoar, Sraer, and Thesmar w20717 Can Unemployment Insurance Spur Entrepreneurial Activity?
Field, Jayachandran, Pande, and Rigol w21093 Friendship at Work: Can Peer Effects Catalyze Female Entrepreneurship?
Khan w20731 Inventing in the Shadow of the Patent System: Evidence from 19th-Century Patents and Prizes for Technological Innovations
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us