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Entrepreneurs, Jacks of all trades or Hobos?


  • Thomas Astebro

    (GREGH - Groupement de Recherche et d'Etudes en Gestion à HEC - HEC Paris - Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Peter Thompson

    (Department of Economics - Florida International University (FIU))


Lazear (2005) suggests that entrepreneurs should be generalists, while those who work for others should be specialists. Many prospective entrepreneurs will develop varied skills by engaging in a variety of employment activities prior to becoming an entrepreneur, and incomes are higher for those that do so. An alternative view predicts that those with greater taste for variety are more likely to become entrepreneurs. Varied employment prior to becoming an entrepreneur is simply an expression of this taste, and is associated with lower earnings. Data from a survey of 830 independent inventors and 300 individuals from the general population are used to discriminate between these two theories. The results show that inventor-entrepreneurs typically have a more varied labor market experience, and that varied work experience is associated with lower household income.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Astebro & Peter Thompson, 2011. "Entrepreneurs, Jacks of all trades or Hobos?," Post-Print hal-00596877, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-00596877
    DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2011.01.010
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server:

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Joachim Wagner, 2006. "Are nascent entrepreneurs 'Jacks-of-all-trades'? A test of Lazear's theory of entrepreneurship with German data," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(20), pages 2415-2419.
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