Entrepreneurship and the School of Hard Knocks: Evidence from China's Great Famine

67 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2016  

Junhong Chu

NUS Business School

Ivan P. L. Png

National University of Singapore (NUS)

Junjian Yi

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Economics

Date Written: June 2, 2016

Abstract

Many entrepreneurs proclaim proudly to have learned from the School of Hard Knocks rather than business schools. These claims challenge the social value of investments in entrepreneurship education and training. Yet, there is little empirical evidence of the effect of earlier life challenges on subsequent success in entrepreneurship. Here, we exploit geographical differences in the intensity of China's Great Famine, 1959-61, as a quasi-natural experiment to identify the effect of hardship. We find robust evidence of more entrepreneurship in counties that experienced greater hardship during the Famine. We investigate whether the difference is due to selective culling or conditioning of personality, and find evidence of adaptation towards greater risk tolerance.

Keywords: Entrepreneurship, Hardship, Nurture, Famine, China

JEL Classification: L26, O15, O17

Suggested Citation

Chu, Junhong and Png, Ivan P. L. and Yi, Junjian, Entrepreneurship and the School of Hard Knocks: Evidence from China's Great Famine (June 2, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2789174 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2789174

Junhong Chu

NUS Business School ( email )

15 Kent Ridge Drive
Singapore, 119245
Singapore
65-65166938 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://bizfaculty.nus.edu/faculty-profiles/157-junhong

Ivan P. L. Png (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore (NUS) ( email )

Singapore, 117543
Singapore
+65 6516-6807 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/iplpng/

Junjian Yi

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Economics ( email )

1 Arts Link, AS2 #06-02
Singapore 117570, Singapore 119077
Singapore

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