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Once bitten, twice shy? The performance of entrepreneurial restarts


  • Metzger, Georg


The aim of this paper is to analyze the effect of entrepreneurial experience on firm growth. According to the human capital theory, individuals who have higher ?human capital? are more successful than others. Entrepreneurial experience is a kind of human capital and, therefore, should affect firm performance positively. In reality, however, not all types of experience indicate enhanced knowledge alone. Bad experience, here the experience of failure, might equally be a signal for entrepreneurial weakness and, thus, an argument for exercising restraint in possible further business ventures. The ambiguous effects of this failure experience on firm success necessitate an in-depth analysis of the issue. Therefore, this paper contains an empirical comparison of firms involving experienced entrepreneurs and novice firms. The analysis shows that entrepreneurial experience affects firm growth positively. Accounting for failure experience separately reveals a negative effect. Interpreting this finding in combination with other control measures indicates that failed entrepreneurs indeed behave more cautiously regarding firm growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Metzger, Georg, 2006. "Once bitten, twice shy? The performance of entrepreneurial restarts," ZEW Discussion Papers 06-083, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:5476

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Alex Coad & Julian Frankish & Paul Nightingale & Richard Roberts, 2014. "Business experience and start-up size: Buying more lottery tickets next time around?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 529-547, October.
    2. Coad, Alex & Frankish, Julian & Roberts, Richard G. & Storey, David J., 2013. "Growth paths and survival chances: An application of Gambler's Ruin theory," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 615-632.
    3. Metzger, Georg, 2007. "Personal experience: a most vicious and limited circle!? On the role of entrepreneurial experience for firm survival," ZEW Discussion Papers 07-046, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    4. Block, Jörn & Brockmann, Heiner & Klandt, Heinz & Kohn, Karsten, 2008. "Gründungshemmnisse in Marktmechanismen und Marktumfeld: Facetten empirischer Evidenz
      [Start-up Barriers in Germany: A Review of the Empirical Literature]
      ," MPRA Paper 9358, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Julian S. Frankish & Richard G. Roberts & Alex Coad & Taylor C. Spears & David J. Storey, 2013. "Do entrepreneurs really learn? Or do they just tell us that they do?," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(1), pages 73-106, February.
    6. Metzger, Georg, 2008. "Firm Closure, Financial Losses and the Consequences for an Entrepreneurial Restart," ZEW Discussion Papers 08-094, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.

    More about this item


    Business Failure; Firm Growth; Entrepreneurial experience;

    JEL classification:

    • G33 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Bankruptcy; Liquidation
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups

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