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Entrepreneurship

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  • Lazear, Edward

    ()
    (Stanford University)

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    Abstract

    The theory proposed below is that entrepreneurs are jacks-of-all-trades who may not excel in any one skill, but are competent in many. A coherent model of the choice to become an entrepreneur is presented. The primary implication is that individuals with balanced skills are more likely than others to become entrepreneurs. The model provides implications for the proportion of entrepreneurs by occupation, by income and yields a number of predictions for the distribution of income by entrepreneurial status. Using a data set of Stanford alumni, the predictions are tested and found to hold. In particular, by far the most important determinant of entrepreneurship is having background in a large number of different roles. Further, income distribution predictions, e.g., that there are a disproportionate number of entrepreneurs in the upper tail of the distribution, are borne out.

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    File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp760.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 760.

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    Length: 56 pages
    Date of creation: Apr 2003
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp760

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    Related research

    Keywords: entrepreneurship; occupation choice; diversity; jack-of-all-trades;

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    References

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    1. Iyigun, Murat F & Owen, Ann L, 1998. "Risk, Entrepreneurship, and Human-Capital Accumulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 454-57, May.
    2. Douglas Holtz-Eakin & David Joulfaian & Harvey S. Rosen, 1994. "Entrepreneurial Decisions and Liquidity Constraints," NBER Working Papers 4526, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. William M. Gentry & R. Glenn Hubbard, 2000. "Entrepreneurship and Household Saving," NBER Working Papers 7894, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1994. "The Division of Labor, Coordination Costs, and Knowledge," NBER Chapters, in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 299-322 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Evans, David S & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1989. "An Estimated Model of Entrepreneurial Choice under Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 808-27, August.
    6. Barton H. Hamilton, 2000. "Does Entrepreneurship Pay? An Empirical Analysis of the Returns to Self-Employment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 604-631, June.
    7. Timothy Bates, 1985. "Entrepreneur Human Capital Endowments and Minority Business Viability," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 20(4), pages 540-554.
    8. 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.
    9. De Meza, D. & Southey, C., 1995. "The Borrower's Curse: Optimism, Finance and Enterpreneurship," Discussion Papers 9502, Exeter University, Department of Economics.
    10. Bates, Timothy, 1990. "Entrepreneur Human Capital Inputs and Small Business Longevity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(4), pages 551-59, November.
    11. Holmes, Thomas J & Schmitz, James A, Jr, 1990. "A Theory of Entrepreneurship and Its Application to the Study of Business Transfers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(2), pages 265-94, April.
    12. Evans, David S & Leighton, Linda S, 1989. "Some Empirical Aspects of Entrepreneurship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 519-35, June.
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