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Who chooses to become an entrepreneur? The Jacks-of-all-Trades in Social and Human Capital

Author

Listed:
  • Uschi Backes-Gellner

    () (Institute for Strategy and Business Economics, University of Zurich)

  • Petra Moog

    () (University of Siegen)

Abstract

This paper studies willingness to become an entrepreneur depending on an individual’s composition of human and social capital. Our theoretical analysis is an extension of Lazear’s (2005) jack-of-all-trades theory. Our primary implication is that it is not individuals with a higher level of human or social capital but rather individuals with a more balanced portfolio of human and social capital that are more willing than others to become entrepreneurs. We use survey data from a sample of more than 2000 German students to test this hypothesis and find that the jacks-of-all-trades, i.e. the more balanced individuals are more likely to become entrepreneurs. On the other hand, the Masters-in-One, i.e. the specialists, are better off being an employee and rightly prefer to be so.

Suggested Citation

  • Uschi Backes-Gellner & Petra Moog, 2007. "Who chooses to become an entrepreneur? The Jacks-of-all-Trades in Social and Human Capital," Working Papers 0076, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
  • Handle: RePEc:iso:wpaper:0076
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    File URL: http://repec.business.uzh.ch/RePEc/iso/ISU_WPS/76_ISU_full.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Joulfaian, David & Rosen, Harvey S, 1994. "Sticking It Out: Entrepreneurial Survival and Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(1), pages 53-75, February.
    2. 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 808-827, August.
    3. John F. Helliwell & Robert D. Putnam, 2007. "Education and Social Capital," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 33(1), pages 1-19, Winter.
    4. Wagner, Joachim, 2004. "Are Young and Small Firms Hothouses for Nascent Entrepreneurs? Evidence from German Micro Data," IZA Discussion Papers 989, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Daiji Kawaguchi, 2002. "Compensating Wage Differentials among Self-Employed Workers:Evidence from Job Satisfaction Scores," ISER Discussion Paper 0568, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    6. Edward L. Glaeser & David Laibson & Bruce Sacerdote, 2002. "An Economic Approach to Social Capital," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 437-458, November.
    7. Silva, Olmo, 2007. "The Jack-of-All-Trades entrepreneur: Innate talent or acquired skill?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 118-123, November.
    8. Nicolaou, Nicos & Birley, Sue, 2003. "Academic networks in a trichotomous categorisation of university spinouts," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 333-359, May.
    9. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Uschi Backes-Gellner & Simone Tuor & Daniela Wettstein, 2010. "Differences between entrepreneurs and employees in their educational paths," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0050, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
    2. Daniel Lechmann & Claus Schnabel, 2014. "Are the self-employed really jacks-of-all-trades? Testing the assumptions and implications of Lazear’s theory of entrepreneurship with German data," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 42(1), pages 59-76, January.
    3. Héctor Gertel & Roberto Giuliodori & Leandra Bernard & Eugenia Meiners, 2009. "Can Public Policy Help to Promote Micro-Enterprises Success in the Context of an Economic Downturn? The Case of Argentina," Revista de Economía y Estadística, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas, Instituto de Economía y Finanzas, vol. 0(2), pages 67-96, July.
    4. repec:kap:jtecht:v:42:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10961-017-9558-z is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Cho, In Soo & Orazem, Peter, 2013. "Are Nonprofit Entrepreneurs Also "Jacks-Of-All-Trades"?," Staff General Research Papers Archive 35750, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Entrepreneurship; Jack-of-all-trades theory; Social capital;

    JEL classification:

    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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