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Do entrepreneurs really learn? Or do they just tell us that they do?

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Author Info

  • Julian Frankish

    (Barclay’s Bank, UK)

  • Richard G. Roberts

    (Barclay’s Bank, UK)

  • Alex Coad

    (SPRU, University of Sussex)

  • Taylor C Spears

    (SPRU, University of Sussex)

  • David J. Storey

    (University of Sussex)

Abstract

This article examines the theory and evidence in support of entrepreneurial learning (EL), measured in terms of whether individuals have previously owned a business, and time since start-up. Under this theory, entrepreneurial performance is argued to be enhanced by EL which itself is enhanced by business experience. However, if business performance is strongly influenced by chance then evidence of EL will be difficult to identify. We test for EL using a large scale data set comprising 6671 new firms. We choose business survival over 3 years as our performance measure and then formulate three tests for EL. None of the three tests provide compelling evidence in support of EL. Copyright 2013 The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Associazione ICC. All rights reserved., Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex in its series SPRU Working Paper Series with number 196.

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Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: 01 May 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sru:ssewps:196

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Keywords: start-up; survival; learning; chance.;

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References

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  1. Nigel Meager & Peter Bates & Marc Cowling, 2003. "An Evaluation of Business Start-Up Support for Young People," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 186(1), pages 59-72, October.
  2. 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.
  3. Lotti, Francesca & Santarelli, Enrico & Vivarelli, Marco, 2007. "Defending Gibrat’s Law as a Long-Run Regularity," IZA Discussion Papers 2744, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Enrico Santarelli & Marco Vivarelli, 2007. "Entrepreneurship and the process of firms’ entry, survival and growth," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(3), pages 455-488, June.
  5. E. Santarelli & M. Vivarelli, 2000. "Is Subsidizing Entry An Optimal Policy?," Working Papers 378, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  6. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
  7. Mata, Jose & Portugal, Pedro, 1994. "Life Duration of New Firms," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(3), pages 227-45, September.
  8. Harald Strotmann, 2007. "Entrepreneurial Survival," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 87-104, January.
  9. Cassar, Gavin & Craig, Justin, 2009. "An investigation of hindsight bias in nascent venture activity," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 149-164, March.
  10. Constance E. Helfat & Marvin B. Lieberman, 2002. "The birth of capabilities: market entry and the importance of pre-history," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(4), pages 725-760, August.
  11. Harhoff, Dietmar & Stahl, Konrad & Woywode, Michael, 1998. "Legal Form, Growth and Exit of West German Firms--Empirical Results for Manufacturing, Construction, Trade and Service Industries," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(4), pages 453-88, December.
  12. George Saridakis & Kevin Mole & David Storey, 2008. "New small firm survival in England," Empirica, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 25-39, March.
  13. Dan Lovallo & Colin Camerer, 1999. "Overconfidence and Excess Entry: An Experimental Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 306-318, March.
  14. Metzger, Georg, 2006. "Once bitten, twice shy? The performance of entrepreneurial restarts," ZEW Discussion Papers 06-83, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  15. Carter, Nancy M. & Williams, Mary & Reynolds, Paul D., 1997. "Discontinuance among new firms in retail: The influence of initial resources, strategy, and gender," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 125-145, March.
  16. Robert Cressy, 2006. "Why do Most Firms Die Young?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 103-116, 03.
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Cited by:
  1. Quatraro, Francesco & Vivarelli, Marco, 2013. "Entrepreneurship In A Developing Country Context," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis LEI & BRICK - Laboratory of Economics of Innovation "Franco Momigliano", Bureau of Research in Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge, Collegio 201314, University of Turin.
  2. Quatraro, Francesco & Vivarelli, Marco, 2013. "Drivers of Entrepreneurship and Post-Entry Performance of Newborn Firms in Developing Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 7436, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Francesco Quatraro & Marco Vivarelli, 2013. "Entry and Post-Entry Dynamics in Developing Countries," GREDEG Working Papers 2013-20, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.

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