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A Gender Gap in Looks

by Elaine Schwartz    •    Mar 17, 2014    •    502 Views

Our Monday Gender Issue:

Good looking men get more start-up dollars than less attractive men. However, all men get more money than women. They receive 93% of all venture capital funding:

Venture Capital Gender Gap

From: Woods, Huang, Kearney and Murray

Hoping to discover why, researchers from Harvard, Wharton and MIT persuaded 60 investors to watch videos from entrepreneurs looking for funding. The business people in the videos were rated according to their looks and pitches. In the pitch competition, the men were 60% more likely to be successful. In life, men have 93% of all VC funding.

Then, they tried a similar experiment with audio only. Presenting the business plan pitch through slides, researchers kept the script constant but changed the sex of the presenter.  And still, with identical content, the men, rated as more persuasive, received 68.33% (356 of 521) of the funding. Participants even said that the men sounded more logical.

You might be thinking that other attributes have to influence venture capital decisions. Yes, absolutely. The quality of a business plan is crucial as are business acumen, the management team, previous experience and “gut instincts.” But still, the researchers found, separate from all else, looks count, especially for attractive men.

Finally, it is interesting to return to the music auditions we looked at several weeks ago. Only when try-outs were gender blind were women selected as frequently as men.

Sources and Resources: While the Telegraph and other media referred to the looks gender gap study, for primary source detail, I recommend the original paper (graph source). Then, you might want to look at econlife further for the impact of height on employment and earnings in other studies.

 

 

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