The Burden of the Nondiversifiable Risk of Entrepreneurship
In the standard venture capital contract, entrepreneurs have a large fraction of equity ownership in the companies they found and are paid a sub-market salary by the investors who provide the money to develop the idea. The big rewards come only to those whose companies go public or are acquired on favorable terms, forcing entrepreneurs to bear a substantial burden of idiosyncratic risk. We study this burden in the case of high-tech companies funded by venture capital. Over the past 20 years, the typical venture-backed entrepreneur earned an average of $4.4 million from companies that succeeded in attracting venture funding. Entrepreneurs with a coefficient of relative risk aversion of two and with less than $0.7 million would be better off in a salaried position than in a startup, despite the prospect of an average personal payoff of $4.4 million and the possibility of payoffs over $1 billion. We conclude that startups attract entrepreneurs with lower risk aversion, higher initial assets, preferences for entrepreneurship over employment, and optimistic beliefs about the payoffs from their products.
|Date of creation:||Aug 2008|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Robert E. Hall & Susan E. Woodward, 2010. "The Burden of the Nondiversifiable Risk of Entrepreneurship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 1163-94, June.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999.
"Convertible Securities and Venture Capital Finance,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
2317, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Klaus M. Schmidt, 2003. "Convertible Securities and Venture Capital Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(3), pages 1139-1166, 06.
- Schmidt, Klaus M., 2003. "Convertible Securities and Venture Capital Finance," Munich Reprints in Economics 19769, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
- Klaus Schmidt, 1999. "Convertible Securities and Venture Capital Finance," CESifo Working Paper Series 217, CESifo Group Munich.
- Repullo, Rafael & Suarez, Javier, 1999.
"Venture Capital Finance: A Security Design Approach,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
2097, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Rafael Repullo & Javier Suarez, 2004. "Venture Capital Finance: A Security Design Approach," Review of Finance, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 75-108.
- Repullo, R. & Suarez, J., 1998. "Venture Capital Finance: a Security Design Approach," Papers 9804, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Y Financieros-.
- Robert E. Hall & Susan E. Woodward, 2007. "The Incentives to Start New Companies: Evidence from Venture Capital," NBER Working Papers 13056, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Catherine Casamatta, 2003.
"Financing and Advising: Optimal Financial Contracts with Venture Capitalists,"
Journal of Finance,
American Finance Association, vol. 58(5), pages 2059-2086, October.
- Casamatta, Catherine, 2002. "Financing and Advising: Optimal Financial Contracts with Venture Capitalists," CEPR Discussion Papers 3475, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Admati, Anat R & Pfleiderer, Paul, 1994. " Robust Financial Contracting and the Role of Venture Capitalists," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(2), pages 371-402, June.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14219. 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: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.