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And a Vision Appeared unto them of a Great Profit: Evidence of Self-Deception among the Self-Employed



Evidence is presented that the self employed expect better financial outcomes than do employees but experience worse realisations. This is consistent with theories that entrepreneurship is driven by unrealistic optimism.

Suggested Citation

  • G. Reza Arabsheibani & David de Meza & John Maloney & Bernard Pearson, 2000. "And a Vision Appeared unto them of a Great Profit: Evidence of Self-Deception among the Self-Employed," Royal Holloway, University of London: Discussion Papers in Economics 99/9, Department of Economics, Royal Holloway University of London, revised Feb 2000.
  • Handle: RePEc:hol:holodi:9909

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Michael Manove & A. Jorge Padilla, 1999. "Banking (Conservatively) with Optimists," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(2), pages 324-350, Summer.
    2. de Meza, David & Southey, Clive, 1996. "The Borrower's Curse: Optimism, Finance and Entrepreneurship," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(435), pages 375-386, March.
    3. Jürg Niehans, 1997. "Adam Smith and the Welfare Cost of Optimism," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 29(2), pages 185-200, Summer.
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    Cited by:

    1. Coad, Alex, 2010. "Neoclassical vs evolutionary theories of financial constraints: Critique and prospectus," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 206-218, August.
    2. repec:eee:corfin:v:44:y:2017:i:c:p:289-307 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Kuckertz, Andreas & Wagner, Marcus, 2010. "The influence of sustainability orientation on entrepreneurial intentions -- Investigating the role of business experience," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 524-539, September.
    4. Parker, Simon C., 2007. "Entrepreneurial learning and the existence of credit markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 37-46, January.
    5. Puri, Manju & Robinson, David T., 2007. "Optimism and economic choice," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 71-99, October.
    6. Morgan, John & Sisak, Dana, 2016. "Aspiring to succeed: A model of entrepreneurship and fear of failure," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 1-21.
    7. Dawson, Chris, 2017. "The upside of pessimism − Biased beliefs and the paradox of the contented female worker," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 215-228.
    8. Fritsch, Michael, 2013. "New Business Formation and Regional Development: A Survey and Assessment of the Evidence," Foundations and Trends(R) in Entrepreneurship, now publishers, vol. 9(3), pages 249-364, February.
    9. FOSCHI, Matteo; SANTOS-PINTO, Luís Pedro, 2017. "Subjective Performance Evaluation of Employees with Biased Beliefs," Economics Working Papers ECO 2017/08, European University Institute.
    10. Josh Lerner & Ulrike Malmendier, 2013. "With a Little Help from My (Random) Friends: Success and Failure in Post-Business School Entrepreneurship," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 26(10), pages 2411-2452.
    11. Cassar, Gavin, 2014. "Industry and startup experience on entrepreneur forecast performance in new firms," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 137-151.
    12. Hyytinen, Ari, 2003. "Loan market equilibrium with difference of opinion and imperfect competition," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 125-129, January.
    13. Michael Fritsch, 2011. "The effect of new business formation on regional development - Empirical evidence, interpretation, and avenues for further research," Jena Economic Research Papers 2011-006, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    14. Petrik Runst, 2011. "Post-Socialist Culture and Entrepreneurship," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 373, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    15. Colombo, Massimo G. & Delmastro, Marco & Grilli, Luca, 2004. "Entrepreneurs' human capital and the start-up size of new technology-based firms," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(8-9), pages 1183-1211, November.
    16. Roessler, Christian & Koellinger, Philipp, 2012. "Entrepreneurship and organization design," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 888-902.
    17. Åstebro, Thomas & Chen, Jing, 2014. "The entrepreneurial earnings puzzle: Mismeasurement or real?," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 88-105.
    18. Laux, Volker & Stocken, Phillip C., 2012. "Managerial reporting, overoptimism, and litigation risk," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 577-591.
    19. Georgellis, Yannis & Sessions, John & Tsitsianis, Nikolaos, 2007. "Pecuniary and non-pecuniary aspects of self-employment survival," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 94-112, March.
    20. Dawson, Chris & Henley, Andrew, 2012. "Something will turn up? Financial over-optimism and mortgage arrears," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 49-52.
    21. de Meza, David & Webb, David, 2000. "Does credit rationing imply insufficient lending?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 215-234, November.
    22. Balasuriya, Jiayi & Gough, Orla & Vasileva, Kristina, 2014. "Do optimists plan for retirement? A behavioural explanation for non-participation in pension schemes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 125(3), pages 396-399.

    More about this item


    Entrepreneurship; unrealistic optimism;

    JEL classification:

    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory

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