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Entrepreneurial success and failure: Confidence and fallible judgement

Excess entry – or the high failure rate of market-entry decisions – is often attributed to overconfidence exhibited by entreprene urs. We show analytically that whereas excess entry is an inevitable consequence of imperfect assessments of entrepreneurial skill, it does not imply overconfidence. Judgmental fallibility leads to excess entry even when everyone is underconfident. Self-selection implies greater confidence (but not necessarily overconfidence) among those who start new businesses than those who do not and among successful entrants than failures. Our results question claims that “entrepreneurs are overconfident” and emphasize the need to understand the role of judgmental fallibility in producing economic outcomes.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 1130.

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Date of creation: Dec 2008
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Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1130
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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  1. Dennis, William Jr., 1997. "More than you think: An inclusive estimate of business entries," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 175-196, May.
  2. Erik Hoelzl & Aldo Rustichini, 2005. "Overconfident: Do You Put Your Money On It?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(503), pages 305-318, 04.
  3. Klepper, Steven, 1996. "Entry, Exit, Growth, and Innovation over the Product Life Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 562-83, June.
  4. Cooper, Arnold C. & Woo, Carolyn Y. & Dunkelberg, William C., 1988. "Entrepreneurs' perceived chances for success," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 97-108.
  5. Antonio E. Bernardo & Ivo Welch, 2001. "On the Evolution of Overconfidence and Entrepreneurs," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(3), pages 301-330, 09.
  6. Palich, Leslie E. & Ray Bagby, D., 1995. "Using cognitive theory to explain entrepreneurial risk-taking: Challenging conventional wisdom," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 10(6), pages 425-438, November.
  7. Dan Lovallo & Colin Camerer, 1999. "Overconfidence and Excess Entry: An Experimental Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 306-318, March.
  8. Brian Wu & Anne Marie Knott, 2006. "Entrepreneurial Risk and Market Entry," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(9), pages 1315-1330, September.
  9. Koellinger, Philipp & Minniti, Maria & Schade, Christian, 2007. ""I think I can, I think I can": Overconfidence and entrepreneurial behavior," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 502-527, August.
  10. Khan, Arshad M., 1987. "Assessing venture capital investments with noncompensatory behavioral decision models," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 193-205.
  11. Biais, Bruno & Weber, Martin, 2008. "Hindsight Bias and Investment Performance," IDEI Working Papers 476, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  12. Duchesneau, Donald A. & Gartner, William B., 1990. "A profile of new venture success and failure in an emerging industry," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 5(5), pages 297-312, September.
  13. Norton, William I, Jr & Moore, William T, 2002. " Entrepreneurial Risk: Have We Been Asking the Wrong Question?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 281-87, June.
  14. Sarasvathy, D. K. & Simon, Herbert A. & Lave, Lester, 1998. "Perceiving and managing business risks: differences between entrepreneurs and bankers," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 207-225, January.
  15. Geroski, P. A., 1995. "What do we know about entry?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 421-440, December.
  16. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
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