Families, Human Capital, and Small Business: Evidence from the Characteristics of Business Owners Survey

22 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2008

See all articles by Robert W. Fairlie

Robert W. Fairlie

University of California, Santa Cruz - Department of Economics

Alicia Robb

University of Colorado at Boulder; Next Wave Impact; Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: 2007

Abstract

Recent research has concluded that the children of business owners are substantially more likely than others to become self-employed themselves. The authors of this study find that more than half of business owners in the confidential, restricted-access 1992 Characteristics of Business Owners Survey had a self-employed family member before starting their business. Of the group with a self-employed family member, fewer than half had worked in that family member's business, suggesting that the intergenerational link in self-employment is not primarily due to the acquisition of general and specific business human capital. In contrast, the success of small businesses owned by those surveyed was only weakly correlated with having a self-employed family member, but strongly correlated with prior work experience in a family member's business, which is one method of acquiring general and specific business human capital. Another finding is that only 1.6% of the small businesses surveyed were inherited.

Suggested Citation

Fairlie, Robert W. and Robb, Alicia, Families, Human Capital, and Small Business: Evidence from the Characteristics of Business Owners Survey (2007). Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 60, No. 2, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1285289

Robert W. Fairlie (Contact Author)

University of California, Santa Cruz - Department of Economics ( email )

Department of Economics
Engineering 2 Bldg.
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
United States
831-459-3332 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://econ.ucsc.edu/~fairlie/

Alicia Robb

University of Colorado at Boulder ( email )

Leeds Business School
Boulder, CO 80309
United States

Next Wave Impact ( email )

7455 Park Lane Road
Longmount, CO 80503
United States

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

1000 Peachtree Street N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30309-4470
United States

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