IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/iza/izadps/dp11017.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Badge of Honor or Scarlet Letter? Unpacking Investors' Judgment of Entrepreneurs' Past Failure

Author

Listed:
  • Zunino, Diego

    () (Copenhagen Business School)

  • van Praag, Mirjam C.

    () (Copenhagen Business School)

  • Dushnitsky, Gary

    () (London Business School)

Abstract

Research shows that most ventures fail, yet it has devoted limited attention to the consequences of entrepreneurs' past failure for investors' decisions. Our motivating insight is that failure can be due to bad luck, lack of skill or both. Therefore, failure conveys ambiguous information about skill. We predict that investors will discount entrepreneurs that experienced past failure. However, in the presence of a signal of skill, the magnitude of the failure discount is reduced. We test our predictions using an online experiment where respondents are potential investors in seed stage ventures via equity crowdfunding. Respondents evaluate a realistic investment opportunity in a between-subjects design, where we decompose the effect of failure into luck and skill. Our results indicate that investors discount entrepreneurs who have experienced failure. Past failure in the presence of a signal of skill, however, is not discounted. The findings indicate no discount of failure based on the "failed" label only. Overall, our analysis sheds light on the rationality of investors. In a world where entrepreneurial failure is prevalent, we find that investors are sensitive to its core drivers: luck and skill.

Suggested Citation

  • Zunino, Diego & van Praag, Mirjam C. & Dushnitsky, Gary, 2017. "Badge of Honor or Scarlet Letter? Unpacking Investors' Judgment of Entrepreneurs' Past Failure," IZA Discussion Papers 11017, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11017
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp11017.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gustavo Manso, 2011. "Motivating Innovation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(5), pages 1823-1860, October.
    2. Ashish Arora & Anand Nandkumar, 2011. "Cash-Out or Flameout! Opportunity Cost and Entrepreneurial Strategy: Theory, and Evidence from the Information Security Industry," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(10), pages 1844-1860, October.
    3. Vogel, Rick & Puhan, Tatjana Xenia & Shehu, Edlira & Kliger, Doron & Beese, Henning, 2014. "Funding decisions and entrepreneurial team diversity: A field study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 107(PB), pages 595-613.
    4. Rocha, Vera & Carneiro, Anabela & Amorim Varum, Celeste, 2015. "Serial entrepreneurship, learning by doing and self-selection," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 91-106.
    5. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
    6. 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, September.
    7. Annamaria Conti & Marie Thursby & Frank T. Rothaermel, 2013. "Show Me the Right Stuff: Signals for High-Tech Startups," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(2), pages 341-364, June.
    8. Ethan Mollick & Ramana Nanda, 2016. "Wisdom or Madness? Comparing Crowds with Expert Evaluation in Funding the Arts," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(6), pages 1533-1553, June.
    9. Franke, Nikolaus & Gruber, Marc & Harhoff, Dietmar & Henkel, Joachim, 2006. "What you are is what you like--similarity biases in venture capitalists' evaluations of start-up teams," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 802-826, November.
    10. Jason Cope & Frank Cave & Sue Eccles, 2004. "Attitudes of venture capital investors towards entrepreneurs with previous business failure," Venture Capital, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(2-3), pages 147-172, February.
    11. Kerr, William R. & Nanda, Ramana, 2009. "Democratizing entry: Banking deregulations, financing constraints, and entrepreneurship," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 124-149, October.
    12. Jing Chen, 2013. "Selection and Serial Entrepreneurs," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(2), pages 281-311, June.
    13. Ashish Arora & Alfonso Gambardella & Laura Magazzini & Fabio Pammolli, 2009. "A Breath of Fresh Air? Firm Type, Scale, Scope, and Selection Effects in Drug Development," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(10), pages 1638-1653, October.
    14. Gompers, Paul & Kovner, Anna & Lerner, Josh & Scharfstein, David, 2010. "Performance persistence in entrepreneurship," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 18-32, April.
    15. Sander Hoogendoorn & Hessel Oosterbeek & Mirjam van Praag, 2013. "The Impact of Gender Diversity on the Performance of Business Teams: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 59(7), pages 1514-1528, July.
    16. repec:eee:jobuve:v:5:y:2016:i:c:p:37-49 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2007. "Estimating Risk Attitudes in Denmark: A Field Experiment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 109(2), pages 341-368, June.
    18. C. Mirjam van Praag, 2003. "Business Survival and Success of Young Small Business Owners," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 03-050/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    19. Hoenig, Daniel & Henkel, Joachim, 2015. "Quality signals? The role of patents, alliances, and team experience in venture capital financing," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(5), pages 1049-1064.
    20. Hsu, David H., 2007. "Experienced entrepreneurial founders, organizational capital, and venture capital funding," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 722-741, June.
    21. Ajay Agrawal & Christian Catalini & Avi Goldfarb, 2015. "Crowdfunding: Geography, Social Networks, and the Timing of Investment Decisions," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(2), pages 253-274, June.
    22. Beckman, Christine M. & Burton, M. Diane & O'Reilly, Charles, 2007. "Early teams: The impact of team demography on VC financing and going public," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 147-173, March.
    23. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
    24. Dennis J. Aigner & Glen G. Cain, 1977. "Statistical Theories of Discrimination in Labor Markets," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 30(2), pages 175-187, January.
    25. Roberto Fontana & Franco Malerba & Astrid Marinoni, 2016. "Pre-entry experience, technological complementarities, and the survival of de-novo entrants. Evidence from the US telecommunications industry," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(6), pages 573-593, September.
    26. Joseph G. Altonji & Charles R. Pierret, 2001. "Employer Learning and Statistical Discrimination," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 313-350.
    27. Thomas J. Chemmanur & Paolo Fulghieri, 2014. "Entrepreneurial Finance and Innovation: An Introduction and Agenda for Future Research," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 27(1), pages 1-19, January.
    28. Pierre Azoulay & Alessandro Bonatti & Joshua L. Krieger, 2015. "The Career Effects of Scandal: Evidence from Scientific Retractions," NBER Working Papers 21146, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    29. Devin G. Pope & Justin R. Sydnor, 2011. "What’s in a Picture?: Evidence of Discrimination from Prosper.com," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(1), pages 53-92.
    30. Robert H. Frank, 2016. "Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 10663.
    31. Parker, Simon C., 2013. "Do serial entrepreneurs run successively better-performing businesses?," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 652-666.
    32. Mollick, Ethan, 2014. "The dynamics of crowdfunding: An exploratory study," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-16.
    33. Michael Roach & Henry Sauermann, 2015. "Founder or Joiner? The Role of Preferences and Context in Shaping Different Entrepreneurial Interests," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 61(9), pages 2160-2184, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    entrepreneur; venture; failure; luck; skill; investors; crowdfunding; experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11017. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak). General contact details of provider: http://www.iza.org .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.