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Returns for Entrepreneurs versus Employees: The Effect of Education and Personal Control on the Relative Performance of Entrepreneurs vis-a-vis Wage Employees

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  • Mirjam van Praag

    (University of Amsterdam)

  • Arjen van Witteloostuijn

    (University of Antwerp, and Utrecht University)

  • Justin van der Sluis

    (University of Amsterdam)

Abstract

How valuable is education for entrepreneurs’ performance as compared to employees’? What might explain any differences? And does education affect peoples’ occupational choices accordingly? We answer these questions based on a large panel of US labor force participants. We show that education affects peoples’ decisions to become an entrepreneur negatively. We show furthermore that entrepreneurs have higher returns to education than employees (in terms of the comparable performance measure ‘income’). This is the case even when estimating individual fixed effects of the differential returns to education for spells in entrepreneurship versus wage employment, thereby accounting for selectivity into entrepreneurial positions based on fixed individual characteristics. We find these results irrespective of whether we control for general ability and/or whether we use instrumental variables to cope with the endogenous nature of education in income equations. Finally, we find (indirect) support for the argument that the higher returns to education for entrepreneurs is due to fewer (organizational) constraints faced by entrepreneurs when optimizing the profitable employment of their education. Entrepreneurs have more personal control over the profitable employment of their human capital than wage employees.

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  • Mirjam van Praag & Arjen van Witteloostuijn & Justin van der Sluis, 2009. "Returns for Entrepreneurs versus Employees: The Effect of Education and Personal Control on the Relative Performance of Entrepreneurs vis-a-vis Wage Employees," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 09-111/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:tin:wpaper:20090111
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    2. Deborah Cobb-Clark, 2015. "Locus of control and the labor market," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-19, December.
    3. Mirjam Praag & André Stel, 2013. "The more business owners, the merrier? The role of tertiary education," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 41(2), pages 335-357, August.
    4. Burke, Andrew & Millán, José María & Román, Concepción & van Stel, André, 2018. "Exploring the impact of different types of prior entrepreneurial experience on employer firm performance," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 107-122.
    5. 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.
    6. Andrea Asoni & Tino Sanandaji, 2016. "Identifying the effect of college education on business and employment survival," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 46(2), pages 311-324, February.
    7. Jörn H. Block & Lennart F. Hoogerheide & A. Roy Thurik, 2010. "Are Education and Entrepreneurial Income Endogenous and Do Family Background Variables Make Sense as Instruments?: A Bayesian Analysis," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 329, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    8. Asoni, Andrea & Sanandaji, Tino, 2014. "Does College Education Reduce Small Business Failure?," Working Paper Series 1050, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    9. Carmen BOGHEAN & Mihaela STATE & Carmen CHAȘOVSCHI & Carmen NĂSTASE, 2018. "Characteristics of Entrepreneurs in Newly Created Companies. A Comparative Analysis by Romanian Development Regions," Book chapters-LUMEN Proceedings, in: Carmen NĂSTASE (ed.), The 14th Economic International Conference: Strategies and Development Policies of Territories: International, Country, Region, City, Location Challen, edition 1, volume 6, chapter 13, pages 134-145, Editura Lumen.
    10. Annamária Dézsi-Benyovszki & Tünde Petra Szabó, 2017. "Intrapreneurs and Entrepreneurs – Do They Differ in Romania?," Acta Oeconomica, Akadémiai Kiadó, Hungary, vol. 67(1), pages 43-61, March.
    11. Simon C. Parker & Mirjam Van Praag, 2010. "Group Status and Entrepreneurship," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(4), pages 919-945, December.
    12. Magnus Lofstrom, 2013. "Does self-employment increase the economic well-being of low-skilled workers?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 40(4), pages 933-952, May.
    13. Hiroyuki Okamuro & Kenta Ikeuchi, 2012. "Work-Life Balance and Gender Differences in Self-Employment Income during the Start-up Stage in Japan," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd12-260, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    14. Bosma, Niels & Hessels, Jolanda & Schutjens, Veronique & Praag, Mirjam Van & Verheul, Ingrid, 2012. "Entrepreneurship and role models," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 410-424.
    15. Alexander Ayogyam, 2012. "Parent Entrepreneurs: to What Extent Can They Influence Their Children to Become Entrepreneurs?," Acta Universitatis Danubius. OEconomica, Danubius University of Galati, issue 3(3), pages 62-75, June.
    16. Veronique Schutjens & Niels Bosma & Jolanda Hessels & Mirjam Van Praag & Ingrid Verheul, 2011. "The strength of a good example: How important are role models for early-stage entrepreneurs?," ERSA conference papers ersa10p531, European Regional Science Association.
    17. André van Stel & Andrew Burke & José Maria Millán & Concepcion Roman, 2013. "Start-Up Size Strategy and Risk Management: Impact on New Venture Performance," Scales Research Reports H201207, EIM Business and Policy Research.
    18. Baumann, Florian & Brändle, Tobias, 2012. "Self-employment, educational attainment and employment protection legislation," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(6), pages 846-859.
    19. Jolanda Hessels & Brigitte Hoogendoorn & Peter van der Zwan & Nardo de Vries, 2013. "Global Entrepreneurship Monitor The Netherlands 2012," Scales Research Reports H201314, EIM Business and Policy Research.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    entrepreneurship; self-employment; returns to education; performance; personal control; locus of control; human capital; wages; incomes;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • 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
    • J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups

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