Skill Balance and Entrepreneurship Evidence from Online Career Histories

17 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2016

See all articles by Li-Wei Chen

Li-Wei Chen

Emory University - Goizueta Business School

Peter Thompson

Georgia Institute of Technology - Scheller College of Business

Date Written: March 2016

Abstract

Lazear's jack‐of‐all‐trades theory suggests that individuals with balanced skills are more likely to become entrepreneurs, and that balanced skills can be accumulated by studying a varied curriculum, working in a variety of functions, and working for a variety of employers. We reexamine the theory using a matched case‐control sample, constructed from a professional networking website that controls for unobserved heterogeneity in employer and job characteristics. We find evidence that variety predicts entry into entrepreneurship, largely through its positive association with the likelihood of having certain specific skills. However, our analysis also demonstrates that attempts to identify the effects of skill variety on entrepreneurship are likely to be highly sensitive to sample construction and regression specification.

Suggested Citation

Chen, Li-Wei and Thompson, Peter, Skill Balance and Entrepreneurship Evidence from Online Career Histories (March 2016). Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Vol. 40, Issue 2, pp. 289-305, 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2744370 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/etap.12220

Li-Wei Chen (Contact Author)

Emory University - Goizueta Business School ( email )

1300 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322-2722
United States

Peter Thompson

Georgia Institute of Technology - Scheller College of Business ( email )

800 West Peachtree St., NW
Atlanta, GA 30308-1149
United States

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