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Liquidity Constraints, Household Wealth, and Entrepreneurship

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  • Erik Hurst
  • Annamaria Lusardi

Abstract

The propensity to become a business owner is a nonlinear function of wealth. The relationship between wealth and entry into entrepreneurship is essentially flat over the majority of the wealth distribution. It is only at the top of the wealth distributionafter the ninety-fifth percentilethat a positive relationship can be found. Segmenting businesses into industries with high and lowstarting capital requirements, we find no evidence that wealth matters more for businesses requiring higher initial capital. When using inheritances as an instrument for wealth, we find that both past and future inheritances predict current business entry, showing that inheritances capture more than simply liquidity. We further exploit the regional variation in house prices and find that households that lived in regions in which housing prices appreciated strongly were no more likely to start a business than households in other regions.

Suggested Citation

  • Erik Hurst & Annamaria Lusardi, 2004. "Liquidity Constraints, Household Wealth, and Entrepreneurship," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 319-347, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:112:y:2004:i:2:p:319-347
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fairlie, Robert W, 1999. "The Absence of the African-American Owned Business: An Analysis of the Dynamics of Self-Employment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 80-108, January.
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    9. Evans, David S & Leighton, Linda S, 1989. "Some Empirical Aspects of Entrepreneurship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 519-535, June.
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