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On the Sources of Entrepreneurial Talent: Tacit vs. codified knowledge


  • Daniela Federici

    (University of Cassino)

  • Francesco Ferrante

    (University of Cassino)

  • Domenico Vistocco

    (University of Cassino)


There is wide consensus that entrepreneurial talent lies in the ability to discover and exploit market opportunities by taking the relevant risky decisions. By determining the nature of the discovery and exploitation processes, institutions and technology play an essential role in shaping entrepreneurial opportunities and the nature of entrepreneurial talent. Building on these premises, the aim of our research work is to investigate the sources of entrepreneurial talent in Italy. In addition to the standard controls, various indices of occupational opportunities are used in order to determine how tacit and codified knowledge determine the returns on different occupational choices in different environments. The data are drawn from the Italian Survey of Household Income and Wealth (SHIW), a large-scale household survey conducted biannually by the Bank of Italy. The original data-set has been integrated with a wide variety of environmental variables drawn from different data sources describing the social, technological and institutional context of the entrepreneurial activity. Our empirical analysis supports the conclusion that the choice to become an entrepreneur in Italy is strongly and positively affected by a privileged access to tacit knowledge, thus confirming previous analyses on the role of social learning (e.g. Guiso and Schivardi, 2005). On the other hand, our results suggest that the returns on codified knowledge in entrepreneurial activities may increase in more creative environments. Indeed, a further aim of the paper is, hopefully, to offer more general insights into the nature of technological opportunities and talent which go beyond the Italian case.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniela Federici & Francesco Ferrante & Domenico Vistocco, 2008. "On the Sources of Entrepreneurial Talent: Tacit vs. codified knowledge," Working Papers 2008-07, Universita' di Cassino, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche.
  • Handle: RePEc:css:wpaper:2008-07

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Torrini, Roberto, 2005. "Cross-country differences in self-employment rates: the role of institutions," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(5), pages 661-683, October.
    2. van Praag, C M & Cramer, J S, 2001. "The Roots of Entrepreneurship and Labour Demand: Individual Ability and Low Risk Aversion," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 68(269), pages 45-62, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. de Bruin Anne M. & Ferrante Francesco M., 2011. "Bounded Opportunity: A Knowledge-Based Approach to Opportunity Recognition and Development," Entrepreneurship Research Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 1(4), pages 1-23, October.
    2. Ferrante, Francesco & Federici, Daniela & Parisi, Valentino, 2017. "University Students and Entrepreneurship. Some insights from a population-based survey," MPRA Paper 76980, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Mayer-Haug, Katrin & Read, Stuart & Brinckmann, Jan & Dew, Nicholas & Grichnik, Dietmar, 2013. "Entrepreneurial talent and venture performance: A meta-analytic investigation of SMEs," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(6), pages 1251-1273.

    More about this item


    Education; Work status; Employment; Self-employment; Entrepreneurship; Human capital; Creativity; Social capital; Cognitive abilities;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification


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