Does Having a Higher Percent of Women-Owned Businesses Correlate with a Decreased Poverty Rate in the United States at the State Level? Evidence from the U.S. Census Bureau and Survey of Business Owners
King, Elizabeth M.
Despite constituting over half of our population, women own only 28.8% of nonfarmbusinesses in the United States (Survey of Business Owners 2007). There may bebenefits to increasing the proportion of women-owned businesses to more accuratelyreflect the representation of women in the population. I hypothesize that having a higherpercent of women-owned businesses at the state level reduces state poverty rates. Usingdata from the U.S. Census and the Survey of Business Owners as well as other sourcesduring the years 1992, 1997, 2002 and 2007, I find a negative but statisticallyinsignificant correlation between the percent of women-owned businesses and thepoverty rate at the state level when controlling for year fixed effects and other covariates.I additionally find an unexpected and statistically significant positive correlation betweenthe percent of women-owned businesses and the poverty rate at the state level whencontrolling for state fixed effects and other covariates, but these results are limited due tomeasurement inconsistencies in the data. These findings are therefore limited andinconclusive.
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