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Skill Variety, Innovation and New Business Formation

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  • Jolanda Hessels

    (Erasmus University Rotterdam, and Panteia/EIM, the Netherlands)

  • Udo Brixy

    (Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Nuremburg, and Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, Germany)

  • Wim Naudé

    (Maastricht School of Management, Maastricht University, the Netherlands , and IZA, Germany)

  • Thomas Gries

    (University of Paderborn, Germany)

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    Abstract

    We extend Lazear’s theory of skills variety and entrepreneurship in three directions. First, we provide a theoretical framework linking new business creation with an entrepreneur’s skill variety. Second, in this model we allow for both generalists and specialists to possess skill variety. Third, we test our model empirically using data from Germany and the Netherlands. Individuals with more varied work experience seems indeed more likely to successfully start up a new business and being a generalist does not seem to be important in this regard. Finally, we find that innovation positively moderates the relationship between having varied experiences, and being successful in starting up a new business. Our conclusion is that entrepreneurs with more varied work experience are more likely to introduce innovations that have not only technical, but also commercial value. Our findings support the notion that entrepreneurship can be learned.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 14-011/VII.

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    Date of creation: 20 Jan 2014
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    Handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:20140011

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    Web page: http://www.tinbergen.nl

    Related research

    Keywords: entrepreneurship; start-ups; human capital; innovation; skills;

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    References

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    1. Simon, Mark & Houghton, Susan M. & Aquino, Karl, 2000. "Cognitive biases, risk perception, and venture formation: How individuals decide to start companies," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 113-134, March.
    2. Gries,Thomas & Naudé, Wim, 2010. "Entrepreneurship and Human Development: A Capability Approach," Working Paper Series wp2010-68, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    3. Vesa Kanniainen & Panu Poutvaara, 2007. "Imperfect Transmission of Tacit Knowledge and other Barriers to Entrepreneurship," CESifo Working Paper Series 2053, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Rui Baptista & Murat Karaoez & Joana Mendonca, 2007. "Entrepreneurial Backgrounds, Human Capital and Start-up Success," Jena Economic Research Papers 2007-045, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
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    7. 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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    14. Joachim Wagner, 2006. "Are nascent entrepreneurs 'Jacks-of-all-trades'? A test of Lazear's theory of entrepreneurship with German data," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(20), pages 2415-2419.
    15. Kihlstrom, Richard E & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1979. "A General Equilibrium Entrepreneurial Theory of Firm Formation Based on Risk Aversion," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(4), pages 719-48, August.
    16. Stuetzer, Michael & Goethner, Maximilian & Cantner, Uwe, 2012. "Do balanced skills help nascent entrepreneurs to make progress in the venture creation process?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 186-188.
    17. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, December.
    18. Reynolds, Paul & Miller, Brenda, 1992. "New firm gestation: Conception, birth, and implications for research," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 7(5), pages 405-417, September.
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