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

Author

Listed:
  • Elisabeth Bublitz

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

  • Florian Noseleit

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Elisabeth Bublitz & Florian Noseleit, 2011. "The Skill Balancing Act: Determinants of and Returns to Balanced Skills," Jena Economic Research Papers 2011-025, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2011-025
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    File URL: http://pubdb.wiwi.uni-jena.de/pdf/wp_2011_025.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Joop Hartog & Mirjam Van Praag & Justin Van Der Sluis, 2010. "If You Are So Smart, Why Aren't You an Entrepreneur? Returns to Cognitive and Social Ability: Entrepreneurs Versus Employees," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(4), pages 947-989, December.
    2. Daniel W. Elfenbein & Barton H. Hamilton & Todd R. Zenger, 2010. "The Small Firm Effect and the Entrepreneurial Spawning of Scientists and Engineers," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(4), pages 659-681, April.
    3. Silva, Olmo, 2007. "The Jack-of-All-Trades entrepreneur: Innate talent or acquired skill?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 118-123, November.
    4. 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).
    5. 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, March.
    6. Ingram, Beth F. & Neumann, George R., 2006. "The returns to skill," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 35-59, February.
    7. 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.
    8. Ljubica Nedelkoska & Frank Neffke, 2010. "Human Capital Mismatches along the Career Path," Jena Economic Research Papers 2010-051, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    9. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    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. Bublitz, Elisabeth, 2013. "Matching Skills of Individuals and Firms Along the Career Path," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79742, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. 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.
    4. Michael Fritsch & Elisabeth Bublitz & Alina Sorgner & Michael Wyrwich, 2014. "How much of a socialist legacy? The re-emergence of entrepreneurship in the East German transformation to a market economy," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 43(2), pages 427-446, August.
    5. Johanna Gast & Arndt Werner & Sascha Kraus, 2017. "Antecedents of the small firm effect: the role of knowledge spillover and blocked mobility for employee entrepreneurial intentions," International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 277-297, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    entrepreneurship; returns to human capital; balanced skill set; jack-of-all-trades;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups

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