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female entrepreneur
The Impact of Norms on Female Entrepreneurs
April 29, 2014Washington, D.C.

The Financial and Private Sector Development Group's Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship Global Practice, the Gender & Development Group, and the Africa Region (West and Central) invite you to the second session in the series: "Women Entrepreneurs -- A New Approach to Growth and Shared Prosperity."

Female entrepreneurs in developing countries are concentrated in low productivity and informal sectors, characterized by limited growth, according to the recent World Bank report, Gender at Work. As a result they are unable to grow from micro and small enterprises into medium/large productive enterprises and contribute to national economies in a significant way.  According to the ILO, 865 million women in the world have the potential to contribute more fully to their national economies and 94% (812 million) of them live in emerging and developing economies. Unlocking the potential of female entrepreneurs would lift millions out of poverty, create jobs, increase incomes, and have important spillover effects that lead to greater economic, social, and household-level outcomes.

How do social norms pose unique barriers to business growth and profitability for female-run enterprises? Norms are shared beliefs about how people should or should not behave and act—and they include gender roles. While these are powerful prescriptions, they can change over time, often in response to markets and new incentives. An experiment in India considers the returns on financial literacy and business skills training for women under differing normative restrictions. The main questions are to what extent societal norms regarding the appropriate behavior of men and women diminish the returns on training and other inputs, and whether the right training and services can help overcome information asymmetries and capacity constraints resulting from biased norms.

Rohini Pande, Mohammed Kamal Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University

Philippe H. Le Houérou, Regional Vice President, South Asia Region, World Bank

Varun Gauri, Senior Economist and co-Director of 2015 World Development Report on Mind and Culture, Development Research Group, World Bank 

  • Rohini Pande

    Rohini Pande is an economist, the Mohammed Kamal Professor of Public Policy, Area Chair for Political and Economic Development, Co- Director of Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) and Director of Governance Innovations for Sustainable Development Group at Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University. She is an Executive Committee member of the Bureau for Research on Economic Development (BREAD), co-chairs the Political Economy and Government Group at Jameel Poverty Action Lab (JPAL) and is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). Her research examines how the design of democratic institutions and government regulation affects policy outcomes and citizen well-being, especially in South Asia. Her work emphasizes the use of real-world evidence to test economic models, often through large-scale field experiments in developing countries. Her research has been funded by National Science Foundation and private foundations, and has been published in several journals including the American Economic Review, Quarterly Journal of Economics and Science. Pande received a Ph.D. in economics from London School of Economics, a MA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University and a BA in economics from Delhi University.
  • Varun Gauri

    Varun Gauri is Senior Economist with the Development Research Group of the World Bank and Co-Director of the World Development Report 2015 on Mind and Culture. His current research examines how legal institutions and conceptions of justice and human rights affect human welfare. His publications include the books Courting Social Justice: The Judicial Enforcement of Social and Economics Rights in the Developing World School and School Choice in Chile, and papers and book chapters on a variety of topics in development, including the enforcement of social and economic rights, the political economy of responses to HIV/AIDS, the strategic choices of development NGOs, customary legal systems, the political determinants of immunization coverage, efficient contracts for private health care providers, public interest litigation, intersubjectivity in fragile states, and international human rights treaties. His research has been chronicled in The Economist, The Washington Post, and the Indian Express. He received a BA in philosophy and literature from the University of Chicago, a Masters and PhD in Public Policy from Princeton University, and has held positions as Visiting Lecturer in Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and Visiting Professor in the Department of Economics at ILADES in Santiago, Chile.
  • Philippe H. Le Houérou

    Philippe H. Le Houérou is the World Bank’s Vice President for the South Asia Region since July 2013. Prior to his current assignment, he was Vice President for the Europe and Central Asia Region, Vice President for Concessional Finance and Global Partnerships, and Acting Vice President and Chief Information Officer for the Information Solutions Group. He joined the World Bank in 1987 as a Young Professional. Since then, he has worked in East Asia, Latin America, Africa and Europe and Central Asia, as Senior Country Economist for Russia and Country Manager for Madagascar, and as Sector Manager for Poverty Reduction and Economic Management for the Southern African and the West Indian Ocean.
Event Details
  • When: 12:30-2:00 p.m.
  • Where: World Bank Headquarters, MC13-121
  • CONTACT: Maureen Itepu
  • mitepu@worldbank.org