IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Do entrepreneurs matter?

  • Becker, Sascha O.
  • Hvide, Hans K

In the large literature on firm performance, economists have given little attention to entrepreneurs. We use deaths of more than 500 entrepreneurs as a source of exogenous variation, and ask whether this variation can explain shifts in firm performance. Using longitudinal data, we find large and sustained effects of entrepreneurs at all levels of the performance distribution. Entrepreneurs strongly affect firm growth patterns of both very young firms and for firms that have begun to mature. We do not find significant differences between small and larger firms, family and non-family firms, nor between firms located in urban and rural areas, but we do find stronger effects for founders with high human capital. Overall, the results suggest that an often overlooked factor -- individual entrepreneurs -- plays a large role in affecting firm performance.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9295.

in new window

Date of creation: Jan 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9295
Contact details of provider: Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820

Order Information: Email:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Victor Chernozhukov & Iván Fernández-Val, 2011. "Inference for Extremal Conditional Quantile Models, with an Application to Market and Birthweight Risks," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(2), pages 559-589.
  2. Hvide, Hans K, 2005. "The Quality of Entrepreneurs," CEPR Discussion Papers 4979, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Douglas Holtz-Eakin & David Joulfaian & Harvey S. Rosen, 1993. "Entrepreneurial Decisions and Liquidity Constraints," NBER Working Papers 4526, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Joshua D. Angrist, 1995. "Estimating the Labor Market Impact of Voluntary Military Service Using Social Security Data on Military Applicants," NBER Working Papers 5192, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Hart, Oliver, 1995. "Corporate Governance: Some Theory and Implications," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(430), pages 678-89, May.
  6. Hans K. Hvide & Jarle Møen, 2010. "Lean and Hungry or Fat and Content? Entrepreneurs' Wealth and Start-Up Performance," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(8), pages 1242-1258, August.
  7. Edward L. Glaeser & Stuart S. Rosenthal & William C, Strange, 2010. "Urban Economics and Entrepreneurship," NBER Chapters, in: Cities and Entrepreneurship National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. repec:oup:qjecon:v:118:y:2003:i:4:p:1169-1208 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Hellmann, Thomas F., 2002. "When Do Employees Become Entrepreneurs?," Research Papers 1770, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  10. Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Kallal, Hedi D. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Shleifer, Andrei, 1992. "Growth in Cities," Scholarly Articles 3451309, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
  12. Bruce Johnson, W. & Magee, Robert P. & Nagarajan, Nandu J. & Newman, Harry A., 1985. "An analysis of the stock price reaction to sudden executive deaths : Implications for the managerial labor market," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1-3), pages 151-174, April.
  13. Barton H. Hamilton, 2000. "Does Entrepreneurship Pay? An Empirical Analysis of the Returns to Self-Employment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 604-631, June.
  14. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 1978. "On the Size Distribution of Business Firms," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 508-523, Autumn.
  15. John Y. Campbell, 2006. "Household Finance," NBER Working Papers 12149, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Bertrand, Marianne & Schoar, Antoinette, 2003. "Managing With Style: The Effect of Managers on Firm Policies," Working papers 4280-02, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  17. Chad Syverson, 2010. "What Determines Productivity?," NBER Working Papers 15712, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. repec:oup:qjecon:v:122:y:2007:i:2:p:647-691 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Kihlstrom, Richard E & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1979. "A General Equilibrium Entrepreneurial Theory of Firm Formation Based on Risk Aversion," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(4), pages 719-48, August.
  20. Andersen, Steffen & Nielsen, Kasper Meisner, 2012. "Ability or Finances as Constraints on Entrepreneurship? Evidence from Survival Rates in a Natural Experiment," Working Papers 03-2012, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Economics.
  21. Bertrand, Marianne & Johnson, Simon & Samphantharak, Krislert & Schoar, Antoinette, 2008. "Mixing family with business: A study of Thai business groups and the families behind them," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3), pages 466-498, June.
  22. Rajan, Raghuram G & Zingales, Luigi, 1998. "Power in a Theory of the Firm," CEPR Discussion Papers 1777, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  23. Steven N. Kaplan & Berk A. Sensoy & Per Strömberg, 2009. "Should Investors Bet on the Jockey or the Horse? Evidence from the Evolution of Firms from Early Business Plans to Public Companies," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(1), pages 75-115, 02.
  24. repec:oup:qjecon:v:125:y:2010:i:2:p:549-589 is not listed on IDEAS
  25. Mark Doms & Eric J. Bartelsman, 2000. "Understanding Productivity: Lessons from Longitudinal Microdata," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 569-594, September.
  26. Tobias J. Moskowitz & Annette Vissing-Jørgensen, 2002. "The Returns to Entrepreneurial Investment: A Private Equity Premium Puzzle?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 745-778, September.
  27. 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.
  28. repec:oup:qjecon:v:122:y:2007:i:4:p:1351-1408 is not listed on IDEAS
  29. repec:oup:qjecon:v:120:y:2005:i:3:p:835-864 is not listed on IDEAS
  30. Evans, David S & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1989. "An Estimated Model of Entrepreneurial Choice under Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 808-27, August.
  31. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:118:y:2003:i:4:p:1169-1208 is not listed on IDEAS
  32. Nguyen, Bang Dang & Nielsen, Kasper Meisner, 2010. "The value of independent directors: Evidence from sudden deaths," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(3), pages 550-567, December.
  33. Luigi Zingales, 2000. "In Search of New Foundations," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(4), pages 1623-1653, 08.
  34. Tobias J. Moskowitz & Annette Vissing-Jorgensen, 2002. "The Returns to Entrepreneurial Investment: A Private Equity Premium Puzzle?," NBER Working Papers 8876, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  35. repec:oup:qjecon:v:113:y:1998:i:2:p:387-432 is not listed on IDEAS
  36. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:113:y:1998:i:2:p:387-432 is not listed on IDEAS
  37. repec:oup:qjecon:v:109:y:1994:i:4:p:841-79 is not listed on IDEAS
  38. repec:oup:qjecon:v:116:y:2001:i:3:p:805-851 is not listed on IDEAS
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9295. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask to update the entry or send us the correct address

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.