The article examines whether cross-border trade in digitally delivered services (DDSs) has an influence on European female entrepreneurship. Two research questions were asked to assess the potential impact of trade in DDSs both on the import and export sides.
To answer the research questions, the panel data for 26 European countries for the years 2008–2019 were implemented to estimate panel regression models. Based on the results of variance inflation factors (VIFs) and Breusch–Pagan and Hausman tests, the estimations of panel models were conducted for female entrepreneurship as a dependent variable and measures of import and export of digitally delivered services as independent variables.
The imports of digitally delivered services positively affect female entrepreneurship in European countries, whilst the impact of the export of digitally delivered services is statistically insignificant. The possibility of being a customer of digitally delivered services through its import may become a gender equaliser in entrepreneurship. However, as differences in digital competencies and growth intentions prevent women from acting as the providers of digitally delivered services, the export of DDSs can sustain the existing gender gap in entrepreneurship.
The research findings provide the added value in the field of female entrepreneurship, referring to institutional theory and human capital theory. The import of DDSs seems to support female entrepreneurs through the reduction of cultural distance, whilst the human capital theory gains the perspective of limited digital competencies needed to export DDSs as a pathway to the internationalisation of women's ventures. The practical implications for trade policy, digitalisation and gender equality should aim not only at supporting women's export propensity, but should also focus on the development of their digital competencies.
Instead of commonly used perspective of international entrepreneurship, the authors implemented the lens of cross-border trade to check whether there is a linkage between internationalisation, measured by imports and exports of DDSs and female entrepreneurship. Trade economists neglect the gender dimension in their studies of pro-growth internationalisation. In contrast, research on female entrepreneurship does not consider the potential of cross-border trade in DDSs as a gender equaliser.
Gaweł, A. and Mińska-Struzik, E. (2023), "The digitalisation as gender equaliser? The import and export of digitally delivered services in shaping female entrepreneurship in European countries", International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJGE-08-2022-0141
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