Missing Entrepreneurs and the Social Cost of Failure
Failure is a social phenomenon. Individuals who attempt an activity and fail visibly have to face a social cost: the stigma of failure. By increasing the cost of visible failures, this stigma may distort individuals’ behaviors in a range of settings with uncertain payoffs including entrepreneurship, job search, and migration. In this project, I investigate the empirical relevance of this hypothesis in a natural, high-stakes field setting in urban Côte d’Ivoire: women's entrepreneurship. My study has two core objectives. First, evaluating if and by how much the stigma of failure may hamper women’s entrepreneurship by measuring their willingness to forgo seed funding to avoid a potential future entrepreneurial failure being visible. Second, testing an alternative entrepreneurship training module specifically designed to alleviate this barrier. The project builds upon qualitative and quantitative fieldwork conducted since 2019.