Doubly Disadvantaged: Gender, Spatially Concentrated Deprivation and Nascent Entrepreneurial Activity

Author:Ekaterina Murzacheva, Jonathan Levie, Sreevas Sahasranamam
Publication Date:01 Sep 2020
Doubly Disadvantaged: Gender, Spatially
Concentrated Deprivation and Nascent
Entrepreneurial Activity
Marketing & Enterprise Department, Hertfordshire Business School, University of Hertfordshire, College Lane, Hatfield AL10
Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, Stenhouse Wing, Strathclyde Business School, University of Strathclyde, 199 Cathedral
Street, Glasgow G4 0QU, UK
J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
Drawing on human capital, intersectionality and mixed embeddedness theory, we test hypotheses on the
relationship between gender differences in human capital and gender differences in nascent entrepreneurial activity
across geographical space, and the moderating effect of spatially concentrated deprivation on this relationship.
Using UK data from Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, we find that the disadvantaged position of female nascent
entrepreneurs arises from social exclusion, and specifically that the gender differences in nascent entrepreneurial
activity aredirectly relatedto differences in general andspecific human capital acrosslocales. Moreover, in deprived
locations, women as a group do not gain from any human capital advantage they might have over men, causing a
double disadvantage for women. Our results make a novel contribution to the literature on disadvantage
entrepreneurship, and we discuss policy options to tackle double disadvantage in deprived locales.
Keywords: Gender; Social exclusion; Spatial exclusion; Human capital; Entrepreneurship
Research on disadvantage entrepreneurship has explored
disadvantages on multiple fronts, including socio-
demographics (Marlow and Swail, 2014; Carter et al.,
2015; Kushnirov ich et al., 2018), entrepreneurial capital
(Dodd and Keles, 2014), and location (Rouse and
Jayawarna, 2006; Nauet al., 2008). For instance, we
know that in many contexts, individuals belonging to
certain socialgroups (e.g., females) are markedby the lack
of (or diminished)access to entrepreneurialcapital leading
to limited entrepreneurial activity (Marlow and Patton,
2005; Hugheset al ., 2012). However,we still have limited
knowledge on how location disadvantages interact with
existing disadvantages at socio-demographic (gender)
and entrepreneurial capital (human capital) fronts in
influencing entrepreneurial activity (Gill and Larson,
2014; Henry et al., 2016; Brush et al., 2017).
There exists a strong economic case for promoting
womens entrepreneurship. For instance, one estimate is
that if women started businesses at the same rate as men,
then the United Kingdom (UK) would see 150,000 more
businesses per annum creating 390,000 more jobs (UK
Womens Enterprise Taskforce, 2012). We also knowthat
harnessing entrepreneurship in disadvantaged areas could
enhance economic development through job creation,
increased productivity and social inclusion (Blackburn
and Ram, 2006; Welter et al., 2008; Frankish et al.,
2014). Given this economic relevance of both womens
entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship in disadvantaged
areas, it is important to have an integrated understanding
of how spatially concentrated disadvantages (location)
(Rae, 2012) interact with social disadvantages (gender)
to influence business start-up activity, also known as
Correspondence: Ekaterina Murzacheva, Senior Lecturer in Enterprise,
Marketing & Enterprise Department, Hertfordshire Business School,
University of Hertfordshire, College Lane, Hatfield AL10 9AB, UK. E-
European Management Review, Vol. 17, 669685, (2020)
DOI: 10.1111/emre.12370
©2019 European Academy of Management
nascent entrepr eneurial activity. To this end, w e address
the following research question in this paper: what is the
effect of spatially concentrated deprivation on gender
differences in nascent entrepreneurialactivity, accounting
for gender differences in human capital in different
We utilize the literature on human capital,
intersectionality and mixed embeddedness to explore the
research question. Human capital theory highlights the
relevanceof two types of human capital on entrepreneurial
activity: general (education) and specific (entrepreneurial
skills and experience) (Becker, 1976; Marvel et al.,
2016). Intersectionality literature discusses privileges and
disadvantages emanating from intersecting social
positions of gender, race, and ethnicity (Gill and Larson,
2014; Martinez Dy et al., 2017; Wang and Warn, 2018).
Gill and Larson (2014) extended the intersectionality
argument to highlight the intersecting role of place-based
effects. The mixed embeddedness approach allows us to
explain entrepr eneurship by sit uating entreprene urial
capabilities and opportunities within a socio-economic,
spatial and regulatory context (Kloosterman, 2010; Ram
et al., 2013; Jones et al., 2014). A critical element of
intersectionality theory is thatintersecting social positions
have multiplicative rather than additive effects (Dubrow,
2008). We integrate these multiple theoretical strands to
argue the presence of a double disadvantagefor women
trying to start businesses in deprived locations, caused by
the interaction of human capital disparities and locational
We usethe empirical context of nascent entrepreneurial
activity across different geographic locales in the United
Kingdom to test our arguments. We combine the Global
Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) database with Index of
Multiple Deprivation (IMD) data for the period
20072012 to build the dataset. Our results offer support
to our argument, highli ghting the presence of a double-
disadvantagehampering female nascent entrepreneurial
activity within deprived locales.
We make multiple contributions through this study.
First, we contributeto the literature on disadvantageentre-
preneurship (Blackburn and Ram, 2006; Kloosterman,
2010; Ram et al., 2013; Marlow and Swail, 2014; Carter
et al., 2015) by highlighting the interaction of social and
spatial exclusion on nascent entrepreneuri al activity.
Second, we add to the economic geography literature
(Rae, 2012; Ghani et al., 2013; Langevang et al., 2015;
Perucca et al., 2019) by exploring the effect of gender
differences in human capital and deprivation on
entrepreneurship across different locales. Finally, we
extend the human capital literature (Estrin et al., 2016;
Marvel et al., 2016) by studying the role of gender
differences in human capital in different locales of the
same country rathe r than at individual, f irm or country-
Theory and hypotheses development
The term disadvantage entrepreneurshiphas a range of
meanings in the literature. First, it could refer to
entrepreneurs of a specific group like women (Marlow
and Swail, 2014) , immigrants (Kush nirovich et al.,
2018), ex-prisoners (Cooney, 2012), old people (Curran
and Blackburn, 2001), or disabled individuals (Dimic
and Orlov, 2014) who experience social exclusion (Khan
et al., 2015). Second, it can imply the geographical
location of individuals and associated spatial inequalities
(Naudé et al., 2008) arising from spatially concentrated
deprivation (Rouse and Jayawarna, 2006; Rae, 2012).
Finally, it might characterise individuals with disad-
vantages in terms of specific capabilities, skills, or
perceptions(i.e. entrepreneurial capital) thatenhance their
vulnerability, such as discouraged borrowers (Kon and
Storey, 2003; Dodd and Keles, 2014). In summary, the
disadvantages for entrepreneurs can arise from their
socio-economic characteristics, location, or capabilities
(Carter et al., 2013).
Prior literature systematically classifies female
entrepreneurs as disadvantaged compared to males,
highlighting gender disparities in entrepreneurial
intentions globally (Marlow and Patton, 2005; Hughes
et al., 2012). There is evidence that women exhibit
preferences towards flexible working hours and part-time
involvement into self-employment, decreasing the scope
of work experience and exposure to business
opportunities, thus decreasing entrepreneurial start-up
rates (Marlow et al., 2012; Carter et al., 2015). The
disadvantaged position compared to men is alsoobserved
in relation to the accumulation of entrepreneurial
resources (Jayawarna et al., 2015), education (Fischer
et al., 1993; Carter et al., 1997), managerial skills (Zolin
et al., 2013), social and professional networks (including
socialisation experiences) (Jayawarna et al., 2015), and
finance (Roper and Scott, 2009; Freel et al., 2012). Some
studies suggest that women are risk-averse in relation to
their business funding strategy (Coleman and Robb,
2012), however, this perspective was challenged with
the argument that risk-avoidance among women is a
consequence of shifting socio-economic norms, which
are reflected in their entrepreneurial endeavours and
actions (Marlow and Swail, 2014). In short, belonging to
a particular social group, such as women in the UK, may
be marked by the lackof (or diminished) access to human
capital, resources and capabilitiesessential for launching a
successful entrepreneurial activity.
Rates of entrepreneurial activity are negatively
correlated with spatially concentrated deprivation
(Devins, 2009; Williams and Huggins, 2013; Frankish
et al., 2014; Williams et al., 2017; Williams and
Williams, 2017). Also, female entrepreneurship rates
are found to be correlated with human capital (Caliendo
670 E. Murzacheva et al.
©2019 European Academy of Management

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