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Smart and Illicit: Who Becomes an Entrepreneur and Does it Pay?

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  • Ross Levine
  • Yona Rubinstein

Abstract

We disaggregate the self-employed into incorporated and unincorporated to distinguish between "entrepreneurs" and other business owners. The incorporated self-employed have a distinct combination of cognitive, noncognitive, and family traits. Besides coming from higher-income families with better-educated mothers, the incorporated - as teenagers - scored higher on learning aptitude tests, had greater self-esteem, and engaged in more aggressive, illicit, risk-taking activities. The combination of "smarts" and "aggressive/illicit/risk-taking" tendencies as a youth accounts for both entry into entrepreneurship and the comparative earnings of entrepreneurs. In contrast to a large literature, we also find that entrepreneurs earn much more per hour than their salaried counterparts.

Suggested Citation

  • Ross Levine & Yona Rubinstein, 2013. "Smart and Illicit: Who Becomes an Entrepreneur and Does it Pay?," CEP Discussion Papers dp1237, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1237
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Dessi, Roberta & Zhao, Xiaojian, 2014. "Over-Confidence, Shame and Investments," IDEI Working Papers 838, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    3. repec:eee:jeborg:v:145:y:2018:i:c:p:474-494 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. 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.
    5. Lindquist, Matthew J. & Sol, Joeri & van Praag, Mirjam C. & Vladasel, Theodor, 2016. "On the Origins of Entrepreneurship: Evidence from Sibling Correlations," IZA Discussion Papers 10278, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Dessí, Roberta & Zhao, Xiaojian, 2018. "Overconfidence, stability and investments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 474-494.
    7. Gumus, Gulcin & Regan, Tracy L., 2015. "Self-employment and the role of health insurance in the U.S," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 357-374.
    8. Saul Estrin & Tomasz Mickiewicz & Anna Rebmann, 2017. "Prospect theory and the effects of bankruptcy laws on entrepreneurial aspirations," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 48(4), pages 977-997, April.
    9. Vera Rocha & Mirjam van Praag & Anabela Carneiro, 2015. "Deviating from the benchmarks: Human capital inputs and the survival of new startups," CEF.UP Working Papers 1502, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    10. Daly, Moira, 2015. "The long term returns of attempting self-employment with regular employment as a fall back option," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 26-52.
    11. Leslie Hannah, 2015. "A global corporate census: publicly traded and close companies in 1910," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 68(2), pages 548-573, May.
    12. Åstebro, Thomas & Tåg, Joacim, 2015. "Jobs Incorporated: Incorporation Status and Job Creation," Working Paper Series 1059, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    13. repec:taf:indinn:v:24:y:2017:i:1:p:61-95 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Carlianne Patrick & Heather Stephens & Amanda Weinstein, 2016. "Where are all the self-employed women? Push and pull factors influencing female labor market decisions," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 46(3), pages 365-390, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Self-employment; Occupational choice; Compensation; Firm organization; Corporate finance; Cognitive and Noncognitive traits;

    JEL classification:

    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill

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