Whereas most start-ups are in low-tech industries, we apply a novel strategy to a data set of scientists and engineers to focus predominantly on high-tech entrepreneurs. We develop a simple model in which the rewards from entrepreneurship are determined by the interaction of ability, the quality of the entrepreneurial idea, and experience in employment. As is consistent with the model, we find that the average return to entrepreneurship is positive, higher paid workers are more likely to become entrepreneurs, especially at younger ages, and greater pre-entry labor market experience is associated with longer tenure but lower earnings in entrepreneurship.
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