Disability, social identity, and entrepreneurship : evidence from a laboratory experiement in rural Uganda
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People with disabilities (PWDs) often face social exclusion due to the stigma associated with having a disability. This results in many PWDs being disadvantaged economically, in education attainment and career opportunities. Entrepreneurship has come to be considered an important tool in poverty alleviation and increased empowerment of PWDs, but the prejudice they encounter creates barriers. In this thesis we present a laboratory experiment investigating the psychological barriers among young PWDs to entrepreneurship in rural Uganda. The participants are mainly secondary school students about to make decisions in terms of their future occupations. Youth unemployment rates are high, indicating that many need to become self-employed out of necessity to provide for themselves and their families. Using priming as a tool, we make social identities salient. Social identity suggests behavioural guidelines for people. We identify the marginal effects of social norms on PWDs in terms of five major entrepreneurial characteristics: risk and time preferences, willingness to compete, performance under pressure and self-efficacy. In addition, we explore the negative stereotypes PWDs face in their community. We find no significant priming effect on any of the characteristics, suggesting there are no disability-specific social norms related to these entrepreneurial characteristics among PWDs. We do not find that non- PWDs have negative stereotypes with regards to the abilities of PWDs, but the evidence suggests that PWDs perceive themselves as inferior. Our findings are encouraging in terms of policy implementation, as the results suggest that PWDs do not need specific targeting when promoting entrepreneurship.