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Living Forever: Entrepreneurial Overconfidence at Older Ages

  • Rietveld, C.A.
  • Groenen, P.J.F.
  • Koellinger, Ph.D.
  • van der Loos, M.J.H.M.
  • Thurik, A.R.

Overconfidence has been proposed as an explanation for excess market entry by entrepreneurs and low returns in entrepreneurial activities. However, establishing that entrepreneurs are more overconfident than non-entrepreneurs requires the use of representative population samples; in addition, econometric endogeneity issues in survey data must be addressed. To overcome these methodological challenges, we use a measure of overconfidence that employs self-reports of life expectancy. These self-reports are compared to actual life spans in a large sample of the US population. We show that entrepreneurs are indeed more overconfident than non-entrepreneurs. By using fixed-effects panel regression—and thus by exploiting the longitudinal nature of our data—we provide evidence that changes in entrepreneurial status are not associated with changes in subjective life expectancy. These two findings in combination offer evidence that overconfident individuals self- select into entrepreneurship.

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Paper provided by Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam in its series ERIM Report Series Research in Management with number ERS-2013-012-STR.

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Date of creation: 23 Jul 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ems:eureri:40673
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  1. Koellinger, Philipp & Minniti, Maria & Schade, Christian, 2007. ""I think I can, I think I can": Overconfidence and entrepreneurial behavior," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 502-527, August.
  2. Antonio E. Bernardo & Ivo Welch, 2001. "On the Evolution of Overconfidence and Entrepreneurs," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(3), pages 301-330, 09.
  3. Baron, Robert A., 1998. "Cognitive mechanisms in entrepreneurship: why and when enterpreneurs think differently than other people," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 275-294, July.
  4. Bjuggren, Carl Magnus & Johansson, Dan & Stenkula, Mikael, 2010. "Using Self-employment as Proxy for Entrepreneurship: Some Empirical Caveats," Working Paper Series 845, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
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  6. Roy Thurik & Jolanda Hessels & Isabel Grilo & Peter van der Zwan, 2009. "Entrepreneurial exit and entrepreneurial engagement," Scales Research Reports H200910, EIM Business and Policy Research.
  7. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521899604 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. de Meza, David & Southey, Clive, 1996. "The Borrower's Curse: Optimism, Finance and Entrepreneurship," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(435), pages 375-86, March.
  9. Forbes, Daniel P., 2005. "Are some entrepreneurs more overconfident than others?," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 623-640, September.
  10. Diego Garcia & Francesco Sangiorgi & Branko Urosevic, 2004. "Overconfidence and market efficiency with heterogeneous agents," Economics Working Papers 786, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  11. Brad M. Barber & Terrance Odean, 2001. "Boys Will Be Boys: Gender, Overconfidence, And Common Stock Investment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 261-292, February.
  12. Roll, Richard, 1986. "The Hubris Hypothesis of Corporate Takeovers," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(2), pages 197-216, April.
  13. Brian Wu & Anne Marie Knott, 2006. "Entrepreneurial Risk and Market Entry," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(9), pages 1315-1330, September.
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  17. Cooper, Arnold C. & Woo, Carolyn Y. & Dunkelberg, William C., 1988. "Entrepreneurs' perceived chances for success," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 97-108.
  18. 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.
  19. Dan Lovallo & Colin Camerer, 1999. "Overconfidence and Excess Entry: An Experimental Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 306-318, March.
  20. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521728355 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. Block Joern H. & Hoogerheide Lennart & Thurik Roy, 2012. "Are Education and Entrepreneurial Income Endogenous? A Bayesian Analysis," Entrepreneurship Research Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 2(3), pages 1-29, July.
  22. David G. Blanchflower, 2004. "Self-Employment: More may not be better," NBER Working Papers 10286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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