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Are nascent entrepreneurs 'Jacks-of-all-trades'? A test of Lazear's theory of entrepreneurship with German data

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  • Joachim Wagner

Abstract

In a recent paper Edward Lazear proposed the 'Jack-of-all-trades' view of entrepreneurship. Based on a coherent model of the choice between self-employment and paid employment he shows that having a background in a large number of different roles increases the probability of becoming an entrepreneur. The intuition behind this proposition is that entrepreneurs must have sufficient knowledge in a variety of areas to put together the many ingredients needed for survival and success in a business, while for paid employees it suffices and pays to be a specialist in the field demanded by the job taken. This study contributes to the entrepreneurship literature by empirically testing Lazear's hypothesis using a large recent representative sample of the German population. The empirical estimation takes the rare events nature of becoming a nascent entrepreneur and the regional stratification of the sample into account. The results illustrate the statistical significance and economic importance of the 'jack-of-all-trades' theory.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 38 (2006)
Issue (Month): 20 ()
Pages: 2415-2419

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Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:38:y:2006:i:20:p:2415-2419

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  1. King, Gary & Zeng, Langche, 2001. "Explaining Rare Events in International Relations," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 55(03), pages 693-715, June.
  2. Lazear, Edward, 2003. "Entrepreneurship," IZA Discussion Papers 760, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Wagner, Joachim, 2002. "Testing Lazear’s Jack-of-All-Trades View of Entrepreneurship with German Micro Data," IZA Discussion Papers 592, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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