Cash or Equity? Employees’ Compensation and the Gender of the Startup Founder

Tiantian Yang, Management, The Wharton School

Abstract: We extend recent studies on how gender shapes subordinate-supervisor interactions by documenting that employees may, under some conditions, negatively stereotype female supervisors in ways that make them more risk averse when choosing the form of compensation. we use employer-employee matched data from Sweden for the period 1991-2021 to assess whether an employee’s chosen compensation in the form of equity (at a given pay) varies with its founder’s gender. We complement these analyses with an experiment, in which we hire workers through an online platform to complete work for a fictional startup, manipulating the apparent gender of the founders.