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The Skill Balancing Act: Determinants of and Returns to Balanced Skills

  • Elisabeth Bublitz

    ()

    (School of Economics and Business Administration, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena)

  • Florian Noseleit

    ()

    (School of Economics and Business Administration, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena)

Entrepreneurs are found to have balanced skill sets and most have worked in small firms before starting their own business. In light of this, we compare the skill sets of employees working in businesses of different size to the skill sets of entrepreneurs using a rich data set on the applied skills of individuals. This data set allows us to construct an indicator that measures skill balance in the uantity (skill scope) and quality (skill level) dimension. Our results show that employees working in large businesses tend to have a lower skill balance than those working in small businesses; yet, the skill balance of entrepreneurs remains the largest. The impact of human capital formation on skill balance also varies among employees of different business sizes and entrepreneurs. Finally, the estimated returns to balanced skills are largest for entrepreneurs whereas, for employees, these returns decrease as business size increases. However, we find no relationship between balancing skills at lower skill levels and income, indicating that both dimensions - skill level and skill scope - are relevant. We end by discussing the policy implications that can be drawn from our results in regard to skill balance.

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Paper provided by Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics in its series Jena Economic Research Papers with number 2011-025.

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Date of creation: 07 Jun 2011
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Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2011-025
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  1. Joop Hartog & Mirjam van Praag & Justin van der Sluis, 2008. "If you are so smart, why aren't you an entrepreneur? Returns to cognitive and social ability: Entrepreneurs versus employees," Jena Economic Research Papers 2008-084, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  2. 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, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
  3. Ljubica Nedelkoska & Frank Neffke, 2010. "Human Capital Mismatches along the Career Path," Jena Economic Research Papers 2010-051, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  4. 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).
  5. Parker, Simon C, 2009. "Why do small firms produce the entrepreneurs?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 484-494, June.
  6. Ingram, Beth F. & Neumann, George R., 2006. "The returns to skill," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 35-59, February.
  7. Barron, John M & Black, Dan A & Loewenstein, Mark A, 1987. "Employer Size: The Implications for Search, Training, Capital Investment, Starting Wages, and Wage Growth," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(1), pages 76-89, January.
  8. repec:fiu:wpaper:0705 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Ari Hyytinen & Mika Maliranta, 2008. "When Do Employees Leave Their Job for Entrepreneurship?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(1), pages 1-21, 03.
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