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The higher returns to formal education for entrepreneurs versus employees

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  • Mirjam Praag

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  • Arjen van Witteloostuijn
  • Justin van der Sluis

Abstract

How valuable is formal education for entrepreneurs’ income relative to employees’? And if the income returns to formal education are different for entrepreneurs vis-à-vis employees, what might be a plausible explanation? To explore these questions, we analyze a large representative US panel. We show that entrepreneurs have higher returns to formal education than employees. We refer to this as the entrepreneurship returns puzzle. We run post hoc analyses to explore a number of potential explanations of this puzzle. Indirectly, our analysis indicates that the higher returns to formal education for entrepreneurs might be due to the fewer organizational constraints they face, leading to more personal control over how to use their human capital, compared to employees. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Mirjam Praag & Arjen van Witteloostuijn & Justin van der Sluis, 2013. "The higher returns to formal education for entrepreneurs versus employees," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 40(2), pages 375-396, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:sbusec:v:40:y:2013:i:2:p:375-396 DOI: 10.1007/s11187-012-9443-y
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Fossen, Frank M. & Büttner, Tobias J.M., 2013. "The returns to education for opportunity entrepreneurs, necessity entrepreneurs, and paid employees," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 66-84.
    2. Ahmad Barirani & Randolph Sloof & Mirjam van Praag, 2017. "The Origins and Extent of Entrepreneurial Action-Orientedness: An Experimental Study," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 17-006/VII, Tinbergen Institute.
    3. Andrea Asoni & Tino Sanandaji, 2016. "Identifying the effect of college education on business and employment survival," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 46(2), pages 311-324, February.
    4. Guido Buenstorf & Kristian Nielsen & Bram Timmermans, 2017. "Steve Jobs or No Jobs? Entrepreneurial activity and performance among Danish college dropouts and graduates," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 48(1), pages 179-197, January.
    5. Joop Hartog & Mirjam Van Praag & Justin Van Der Sluis, 2010. "If You Are So Smart, Why Aren't You an Entrepreneur? Returns to Cognitive and Social Ability: Entrepreneurs Versus Employees," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(4), pages 947-989, December.
    6. Estrin, Saul & Mickiewicz, Tomasz & Stephan, Ute, 2016. "Human capital in social and commercial entrepreneurship," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 449-467.
    7. repec:eee:respol:v:46:y:2017:i:8:p:1490-1504 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Alina Sorgner & Michael Fritsch & Alexander Kritikos, 2017. "Do entrepreneurs really earn less?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 49(2), pages 251-272, August.
    9. Elert, Niklas & Andersson, Fredrik W. & Wennberg, Karl, 2015. "The impact of entrepreneurship education in high school on long-term entrepreneurial performance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 209-223.
    10. Halvarsson, Daniel & Korpi, Martin & Wennberg, Karl, 2016. "Entrepreneurship and Income Inequality," Ratio Working Papers 281, The Ratio Institute.
    11. Claudio Michelacci & Fabiano Schivardi, 2016. "Are They All Like Bill, Mark, and Steve? The Education Premium for Entrepreneurs," EIEF Working Papers Series 1612, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Sep 2017.
    12. Souksavanh VIXATHEP & Nobuaki MATSUNAGA, 2015. "Entrepreneurial Human and Social Capital in Small Businesses in Vietnam - An Extended Analysis -," GSICS Working Paper Series 29, Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies, Kobe University.
    13. R. Hafer & Garett Jones, 2015. "Are entrepreneurship and cognitive skills related? Some international evidence," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 44(2), pages 283-298, February.
    14. Larsson, Johan P & Wennberg, Karl & Wiklund, Johan & Wright, Mike, 2017. "Location Choices of Graduate Entrepreneurs," Ratio Working Papers 290, The Ratio Institute.
    15. Hu, Feng, 2015. "Return to Education for China’s Return Migrant Entrepreneurs," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 296-307.
    16. repec:eee:jbvent:v:32:y:2017:i:6:p:611-626 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Ingrid Verheul & Joern Block & Katrin Burmeister-Lamp & Roy Thurik & Henning Tiemeier & Roxana Turturea, 2015. "ADHD-like behavior and entrepreneurial intentions," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 85-101, June.
    18. Millán, José María & Congregado, Emilio & Román, Concepción, 2014. "Persistence in entrepreneurship and its implications for the European entrepreneurial promotion policy," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 83-106.
    19. Asoni, Andrea & Sanandaji, Tino, 2014. "Does College Education Reduce Small Business Failure?," Working Paper Series 1050, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    20. Aurora A. C. Teixeira & Rosa Portela Forte, 2017. "Prior education and entrepreneurial intentions: the differential impact of a wide range of fields of study," Review of Managerial Science, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 353-394, March.
    21. Rosendahl Huber, Laura & Sloof, Randolph & van Praag, Mirjam C., 2014. "Jacks-of-All-Trades? The Effect of Balanced Skills on Team Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 8237, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    22. Jose Maria Millan & Emilio Congregado & Concepcion Roman & Mirjam van Praag & Andre van Stel, 2011. "The Value of an Educated Population for an Individual's Entrepreneurship Success," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-066/3, Tinbergen Institute, revised 06 May 2014.
    23. repec:hyo:journl:v:7:y:2017:i:1:p:33 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Entrepreneurship; Self-employment; Education; Locus of control; Human capital; Wages; Incomes; J23; J24; J31; J44; M13; L26;

    JEL classification:

    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship

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