UCL School of Management

Research seminar

Tingting Lang, SMU


Thursday, 14 November 2019
11:00 – 12:30
Research Group
Organisations and Innovation
UCL School of Management is delighted to welcome,Tingting Lang, SMU, to host a research seminar discussing ‘Discrimination against low-income entrepreneurs in funding allocation decisions: Exploring causes and potential remedies’

Entrepreneurship is a central path to job creation, economic growth, and poverty alleviation. Despite the promise of entrepreneurship for improving the material conditions of people around the world, low-income individuals are facing disadvantages when seeking funding. Discrimination against low-income individuals in funding allocation decisions represents a significant impediment to their ability to move upward via entrepreneurial endeavours. Such issues have consequential impact on the wellbeing of entrepreneurs, the development of nascent organizations, and societal equality and mobility at large.In this talk, I present three studies to understand why low-income entrepreneurs are disadvantaged in funding allocation decisions and look for effective strategies to reduce this discrimination. Study 1 pit against each other the different mechanisms of taste-based versus statistical discrimination explanations potentially contributing to the discrimination, finding support for the theorized key role of statistical discrimination explanation (e.g., competence perception). Accordingly, study 2 and study 3 discovered strategies attempting to reduce discrimination by targeting at the competence pathway. Engaging in extensive coding and analysis of a large crowdfunding platform, study 2 found that emphasizing the social impact of projects can help attenuate discrimination against low-income entrepreneurs by aligning the perceived entrepreneurial task requirement with a trait stereotypically associated with poor individuals—prosociality. Also, highlighting entrepreneurs’ humble family background and financial progress attenuates the discrimination by improving the competence impression (study 3).By understanding the psychological dynamics occurring in a major domain of economic activity, entrepreneurship, and looking for strategies to attenuate the disadvantages that low-income entrepreneurs are facing in funding allocations, this research connects micro and macro levels of thinking about entrepreneurship, decision making, equality of opportunity, and socioeconomic mobility.

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Last updated Tuesday, 5 November 2019