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Serial entrepreneurship, learning by doing and self-selection


  • Vera Rocha

    () (Universidade do Porto, cef.up and CIPES)

  • Anabela Carneiro

    () (Universidade do Porto and cef.up)

  • Celeste Amorim Varum

    () (Universidade de Aveiro, DEGEI and GOVCOPP)


It remains a question whether serial entrepreneurs typically perform better than their novice counterparts owing to learning by doing e¤ects or mostly because they are a selected sample of higher-than-average ability entrepreneurs. This paper tries to unravel these two effects by exploring a novel empirical strategy based on continuous time duration models with selection. We use a large longitudinal matched employer-employee dataset that allows us to track almost 220,000 individuals who have left their first entrepreneurial experience. Over 35,000 serial entrepreneurs are identified and followed in their second business, in order to evaluate how entrepreneurial experience acquired in the previous business improves persistence by reducing their exit rates. Our results show that serial entrepreneurs are not a random selection of ex-business-owners. The positive association found between prior experience and serial entrepreneurs' survival is mainly due to selection on ability, rather than the result of learning by doing.

Suggested Citation

  • Vera Rocha & Anabela Carneiro & Celeste Amorim Varum, 2013. "Serial entrepreneurship, learning by doing and self-selection," CEF.UP Working Papers 1312, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
  • Handle: RePEc:por:cetedp:1312

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kareem Haggag & Brian McManus & Giovanni Paci, 2017. "Learning by Driving: Productivity Improvements by New York City Taxi Drivers," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 70-95, January.
    2. repec:col:000180:015905 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Zunino, Diego & van Praag, Mirjam C. & Dushnitsky, Gary, 2017. "Badge of Honor or Scarlet Letter? Unpacking Investors' Judgment of Entrepreneurs' Past Failure," IZA Discussion Papers 11017, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Tran, Hien Thu & Carbonara, Emanuela & Santarelli, Enrico, 2017. "Determinants of Novice, Portfolio and Serial Entrepreneurship: An Occupational Choice Approach," GLO Discussion Paper Series 74, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    5. Weerachart Kilenthong & Kittipong Rueanthip, 2016. "The Impact of Family Business Apprenticeship on Entrepreneurship and Survival of Small Businesses: Evidence from Thailand," PIER Discussion Papers 34., Puey Ungphakorn Institute for Economic Research, revised Jun 2016.
    6. Kathryn L. Shaw & Anders Sørensen, 2017. "The Productivity Advantage of Serial Entrepreneurs," NBER Working Papers 23320, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Gottschalk, Sandra & Greene, Francis J. & Höwer, Daniel & Müller, Bettina, 2014. "If you don't succeed, should you try again? The role of entrepreneurial experience in venture survival," ZEW Discussion Papers 14-009, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    8. Sandra Gottschalk & Francis J. Greene & Bettina Müller, 2017. "The impact of habitual entrepreneurial experience on new firm closure outcomes," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 48(2), pages 303-321, February.

    More about this item


    Serial Entrepreneurship; Entrepreneurial Experience; Learning; Selection;

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship

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