Asking Better Questions: The Effect of Changing Investment Organizations’ Evaluation Practices on Gender Disparities in Funding Innovation

Asking Better Questions: The Effect of Changing Investment Organizations’ Evaluation Practices on Gender Disparities in Funding Innovation

Organized by the Private Sector Development Research Network

Hosted by the International Growth Center (IGC)

Moderated by Marta Bertanzetti, Policy Economist (Firms), IGC

Friday, 26 April 2024, from 09:00 – 10:00 EST 



In this upcoming seminar, Dr. Miller will delve into her research that sheds light on the critical role investment organizations’ play in producing (and reducing) gender disparities in funding innovation. Female innovators raise fewer resources from investors, even when their ventures are observably similar to those of all-male teams. Efforts to mitigate these disparities have typically focused on changing how founders seek investment. However, the causes of gender disparities are systemic: in uncertain contexts, evaluators value women’s competence or leadership potential lower than men’s, and investors inquire more about risks when facing female founders than males. To examine the effect of investment organizations’ evaluation processes on gender disparities, this paper uses a two-stage global field experiment with investors making 1,871 investment decisions on early-stage startups over an evaluation process, which resulted in $320,000 invested in 16 startups. The experiment changed an organization’s evaluation framework to systematize investor inquiry across all ventures by including prompts about (1) risk and reward and (2) progress during the evaluation period. This caused treated investors to (1) assess startups more consistently and (2) assess startup competence more dynamically than control investors. It eliminated, even reversed, the gender gap in investment outcomes. These results have implications for organizations making decisions in uncertain contexts, and those aiming to reduce gender disparities.

The working paper can also be found here.


Amisha Miller

Assistant Professor of Management and Organizations

Dr. Amisha Miller is an Assistant Professor of Management and Organizations at New York University Stern School of Business. Her academic endeavors primarily focus on the study of decision-making processes within entrepreneurship and innovation, paying special attention to their implications for inclusivity and inequality. Her recent papers examine the complementary roles of advice and experimentation when forming entrepreneurial strategy, and the effects of investor inquiry on gender disparities in investments in innovation. Dr. Miller’s research has  been published in Organization Science, featured in Forbes magazine, and has been transformed into the Smarter Systems toolkit for investors  She garnered recognition from academic awards from the Strategic Management Society, the Academy of Management, the Industry Studies Association and Organization Science/INFORMS. Before her tenure at NYU Stern, Dr. Miller worked in various research and policy roles in funding bodies, as a consultant with governmental agencies at international, national, and local levels, in nonprofit organizations, and as an entrepreneur.

For more details about Dr. Miller’s work: link here  


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