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With a Little Help from My (Random) Friends: Success and Failure in Post-Business School Entrepreneurship

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  • Josh Lerner
  • Ulrike Malmendier

Abstract

How do individuals decide to become entrepreneurs and learn to make optimal entrepreneurial decisions? The concentration of entrepreneurs in regions such as Silicon Valley has stimulated research and policy interest into the influence of peers, but the causal effect is hard to identify empirically. We exploit the exogenous assignment of students into business-school sections to identify the causal effect of entrepreneurial peers. We show that, in contrast to prior findings, a higher share of entrepreneurial peers decreases, rather than increases, entrepreneurship. The decrease is driven by a reduction in unsuccessful entrepreneurial ventures; the effect on successful ventures is significantly more positive. The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com., Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Josh Lerner & Ulrike Malmendier, 2013. "With a Little Help from My (Random) Friends: Success and Failure in Post-Business School Entrepreneurship," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 26(10), pages 2411-2452.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:26:y:2013:i:10:p:2411-2452
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. de Meza, David & Southey, Clive, 1996. "The Borrower's Curse: Optimism, Finance and Entrepreneurship," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(435), pages 375-386, March.
    2. Mariassunta Giannetti & Andrei Simonov, 2009. "Social Interactions and Entrepreneurial Activity," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(3), pages 665-709, September.
    3. Arabsheibani, Gholamreza & de Meza, David & Maloney, John & Pearson, Bernard, 2000. "And a vision appeared unto them of a great profit: evidence of self-deception among the self-employed," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 35-41, April.
    4. Gompers, Paul & Kovner, Anna & Lerner, Josh & Scharfstein, David, 2008. "Venture capital investment cycles: The impact of public markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 1-23, January.
    5. Landier, Augustin & Thesmar, David, 2003. "Financial Contracting with Optimistic Entrepreneurs: Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 3971, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Ramana Nanda & Jesper B. Sørensen, 2010. "Workplace Peers and Entrepreneurship," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(7), pages 1116-1126, July.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Elke Lüdemann, 2011. "Schooling and the Formation of Cognitive and Non-cognitive Outcomes," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 39.
    2. Dou, Xinhua & Zhu, Xiajing & Zhang, Jason Q. & Wang, Jie, 2019. "Outcomes of entrepreneurship education in China: A customer experience management perspective," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 338-347.
    3. Bougheas, Spiros & Nieboer, Jeroen & Sefton, Martin, 2013. "Risk-taking in social settings: Group and peer effects," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 273-283.
    4. Åstebro, Thomas & Bazzazian, Navid & Braguinsky, Serguey, 2012. "Startups by recent university graduates and their faculty: Implications for university entrepreneurship policy," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 663-677.
    5. Chang, Simon & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2015. "Mating competition and entrepreneurship," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 292-309.
    6. Åstebro, Thomas & Bazzazian, Navid & Braguinsky, Serguey, 2012. "Startups by recent university graduates and their faculty: Implications for university entrepreneurship policy," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 663-677.
    7. Larsson, Johan P. & Wennberg, Karl & Wiklund, Johan & Wright, Mike, 2017. "Location choices of graduate entrepreneurs," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1490-1504.
    8. Eleanor W. Dillon & Christopher T. Stanton, 2017. "Self-Employment Dynamics and the Returns to Entrepreneurship," NBER Working Papers 23168, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Lee, Hoan Soo, 2017. "Peer networks in venture capital," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 19-30.
    10. Ebbers, Joris J. & Wijnberg, Nachoem M., 2019. "The co-evolution of social networks and selection system orientations as core constituents of institutional logics of future entrepreneurs at school," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 558-577.
    11. Fernando Vega-Redondo & Paolo Pin & Diego Ubfal & Cristiana Benedetti-Fasil & Charles Brummitt & Gaia Rubera & Dirk Hovy & Tommaso Fornaciari, 2019. "Peer Networks and Entrepreneurship: a Pan-African RCT," Working Papers 648, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    12. Schiltz, Fritz & Mazrekaj, Deni & Horn, Daniel & De Witte, Kristof, 2019. "Does it matter when your smartest peers leave your class? Evidence from Hungary," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 79-91.
    13. Eesley, Charles & Wang, Yanbo, 2017. "Social influence in career choice: Evidence from a randomized field experiment on entrepreneurial mentorship," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 636-650.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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