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The Jack-of-All-Trades Entrepreneur: Innate Talent or Acquired Skill?


  • Silva, Olmo

    () (London School of Economics)


Cross-sectional tests of the Jack-of-All-Trades theory of entrepreneurship invariably conclude that accumulation of balanced skill-mix across different fields of expertise stimulates entrepreneurship. Yet, none of these considers individual unobservable characteristics which may simultaneously determine skill accumulation and occupational choice. Using panel techniques to control for this, I show that gathering expertise across various subjects does not increase the chances of becoming entrepreneur.

Suggested Citation

  • Silva, Olmo, 2006. "The Jack-of-All-Trades Entrepreneur: Innate Talent or Acquired Skill?," IZA Discussion Papers 2264, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2264

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Wagner, Joachim, 2004. "Nascent Entrepreneurs," IZA Discussion Papers 1293, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Edward P. Lazear, 2004. "Balanced Skills and Entrepreneurship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 208-211, May.
    3. Edward P. Lazear, 2005. "Entrepreneurship," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(4), pages 649-680, October.
    4. J. Wagner, 2003. "Testing Lazear's jack-of-all-trades view of entrepreneurship with German micro data," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(11), pages 687-689.
    5. William J. Baumol, 2004. "Education for Innovation: Entrepreneurial Breakthroughs vs. Corporate Incremental Improvements," NBER Working Papers 10578, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    skills; occupational choice; entrepreneurship;

    JEL classification:

    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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