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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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  • Wagner, Joachim

    ()
    (Leuphana University Lüneburg)

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 paper 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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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 911.

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Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Applied Economics, 2006, 38 (20), 2415-2419
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp911

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Keywords: rare events logit; Germany; jack-of-all-trades theory; entrepreneurship;

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  1. Lazear, Edward, 2003. "Entrepreneurship," IZA Discussion Papers 760, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. 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).
  3. King, Gary & Zeng, Langche, 2001. "Explaining Rare Events in International Relations," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 55(03), pages 693-715, June.
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