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Evidence on entrepreneurs in the United States: data from the 1989–2004 survey of consumer finances


  • Mariacristina De Nardi
  • Phil Doctor
  • Spencer D. Krane


Using data from the Federal Reserve Board’s Survey of Consumer Finances, the authors examine characteristics of entrepreneurs and the businesses they run. Their analysis confirms that business owners are important sources of saving and wealth creation in the U.S. and that they are less risk averse than other wealthy households. This discounts the notion that the wealth of entrepreneurs disproportionately reflects a buildup of precautionary balances to guard against financial risk.

Suggested Citation

  • Mariacristina De Nardi & Phil Doctor & Spencer D. Krane, 2007. "Evidence on entrepreneurs in the United States: data from the 1989–2004 survey of consumer finances," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q IV, pages 18-36.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhep:y:2007:i:qiv:p:18-36:n:v.31no.4

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Vincenzo Quadrini, 2000. "Entrepreneurship, Saving and Social Mobility," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 3(1), pages 1-40, January.
    2. John Heaton & Deborah Lucas, 2000. "Portfolio Choice and Asset Prices: The Importance of Entrepreneurial Risk," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(3), pages 1163-1198, June.
    3. Ellen R. Rissman, 2006. "The self-employment duration of younger men over the business cycle," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q III, pages 14-27.
    4. Daniel Aaronson & Ellen R. Rissman & Daniel G. Sullivan, 2004. "Can sectoral reallocation explain the jobless recovery?," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q II, pages 36-39.
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    Cited by:

    1. Scheuer, Florian, 2013. "Adverse selection in credit markets and regressive profit taxation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(4), pages 1333-1360.
    2. repec:eee:jeborg:v:145:y:2018:i:c:p:275-293 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Mariacristina De Nardi, 2015. "Quantitative Models of Wealth Inequality: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 21106, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Jason DeBacker & Bradley Heim & Vasia Panousi & Shanthi Ramnath & Ivan Vidangos, 2012. "The properties of income risk in privately held businesses," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2012-69, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    5. Radim Bohacek & Hugo Rodríguez Mendizábal, "undated". "Misallocation of Capital in a Model of Endogenous Financial Intermediation and Insurance," Working Papers 543, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    6. repec:eee:jeborg:v:143:y:2017:i:c:p:116-132 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:red:issued:16-340 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Hui Chen & Jianjun Miao & Neng Wang, 2010. "Entrepreneurial Finance and Nondiversifiable Risk," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(12), pages 4348-4388, December.
    9. Mariacristina De Nardi & Giulio Fella, 2017. "Saving and Wealth Inequality," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 26, pages 280-300, October.

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    Consumer surveys ; Business enterprises;


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