The Economic Psychology of Entrepreneurship and Family Business

30 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2009 Last revised: 31 Aug 2009

See all articles by Manju Puri

Manju Puri

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business; NBER; FDIC

David T. Robinson

Fuqua School of Business, Duke University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative

Date Written: June 18, 2009

Abstract

The paper studies how the attitudes of entrepreneurs, in general, and family business owners, in particular, differ from others in the economy. Family business owners are entrepreneurs who operate a business with their spouse or adult children. We use data from the Survey of Consumer Finance to measure and isolate the enjoyment of private benefits, attitudes towards risk, and optimism for these groups. Entrepreneurs are more optimistic, and enjoy the nonpecuniary benefits of work more than wage earners. They are somewhat more risk loving, but perhaps less so than commonly believed. Family business owners share optimism and non-pecuniary benefits with other entrepreneurs; their tolerance for risk is not different than wage earners. These attitudes translate into actions: optimism and non-pecuniary benefits increase hours spent at work, and in some cases increase measured labor productivity. Family business owners are primarily responsible for the observed labor productivity associated with entrepreneurship.

Suggested Citation

Puri, Manju and Robinson, David T., The Economic Psychology of Entrepreneurship and Family Business (June 18, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1422140 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1422140

Manju Puri

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business ( email )

100 Fuqua Drive
Box 90120
Durham, NC 27708-0120
United States
919-660-7657 (Phone)

NBER

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

FDIC ( email )

550 17th Street NW
Washington, DC 20429
United States

David T. Robinson (Contact Author)

Fuqua School of Business, Duke University ( email )

100 Fuqua Drive
Durham, NC 27708-0120
United States
919-660-8023 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative ( email )

215 Morris St., Suite 300
Durham, NC 27701
United States

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