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Skill Variety, Innovation and New Business Formation

Author

Listed:
  • Hessels, Jolanda

    () (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

  • Brixy, Udo

    () (Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Nuremberg)

  • Naudé, Wim

    () (Maastricht University)

  • Gries, Thomas

    () (University of Paderborn)

Abstract

We extend Lazear's theory of skills variety and entrepreneurship in three directions. First, we provide a theoretical framework linking new business creation with an entrepreneur's skill variety. Second, in this model we allow for both generalists and specialists to possess skill variety. Third, we test our model empirically using data from Germany and the Netherlands. Individuals with more varied work experience seems indeed more likely to successfully start up a new business and that being a generalist does not seem to be important in this regard. Finally, we find that innovation positively moderates the relationship between having varied experiences, and being successful in starting up a new business. Our conclusion is that entrepreneurs with more varied work experience are more likely to introduce innovations that have not only technical, but also commercial value. Our findings support the notion that entrepreneurship can be learned.

Suggested Citation

  • Hessels, Jolanda & Brixy, Udo & Naudé, Wim & Gries, Thomas, 2014. "Skill Variety, Innovation and New Business Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 7889, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7889
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michael Stuetzer & Martin Obschonka & Eva Schmitt-Rodermund, 2013. "Balanced skills among nascent entrepreneurs," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 93-114, June.
    2. 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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    Cited by:

    1. Rosendahl Huber, Laura & Sloof, Randolph & van Praag, Mirjam C., 2014. "Jacks-of-All-Trades? The Effect of Balanced Skills on Team Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 8237, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    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. Michael Stuetzer & Martin Obschonka & Eva Schmitt-Rodermund, 2013. "Balanced skills among nascent entrepreneurs," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 93-114, June.
    4. Naudé, Wim, 2017. "Entrepreneurship, Education and the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Africa," IZA Discussion Papers 10855, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Mahe, Clotilde, 2017. "Occupational choice of return migrants: Is there a 'Jack-of-all-trades' effect?," MERIT Working Papers 039, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    6. Werner, Arndt, 2011. "Abbruch und Aufschub von Gründungsvorhaben: Eine empirische Analyse mit den Daten des Gründerpanels des IfM Bonn," IfM-Materialien 209, Institut für Mittelstandsforschung (IfM) Bonn.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    entrepreneurship; start-ups; human capital; innovation; skills;

    JEL classification:

    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives

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