Experience and Entrepreneurship: A Career Transition Perspective.
57 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2013 Last revised: 6 Mar 2019
Date Written: February 18, 2019
We cast entrepreneurship as one of three career choices – remaining with one’s employer, changing employers, or engaging in entrepreneurship – and theorize how the likelihood of entrepreneurship evolves over one’s career. We empirically demonstrate an inverted U-shaped relationship between accumulated experience and entrepreneurship across various industries and jobs. Despite detailed career history data and job displacement shocks that eliminate the current employer choice, we highlight the difficulty of inferring the mechanism underlying the observed relationship. These analyses motivate a formal career transitions model in which employer-specific and general skills accumulate with experience but potential employers observe only total skill. The upshot of our model is that entrepreneurial career transitions vary with two relative costs: (1) to an individual of forming a business and (2) to a potential employer of utilizing the individual’s employer-specific skills. We discuss how this model contributes new insights into entrepreneurial careers.
Keywords: Entrepreneurship, Employee mobility, Experience
JEL Classification: L26, D20, J20, M50
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation