Age and High-Growth Entrepreneurship

50 Pages Posted: 12 Apr 2018

See all articles by Pierre Azoulay

Pierre Azoulay

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Benjamin F. Jones

Northwestern University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

J. Daniel Kim

The Wharton School

Javier Miranda

US Census Bureau — Economy-Wide Statistics Division

Date Written: April 2018

Abstract

Many observers, and many investors, believe that young people are especially likely to produce the most successful new firms. We use administrative data at the U.S. Census Bureau to study the ages of founders of growth-oriented start-ups in the past decade. Our primary finding is that successful entrepreneurs are middle-aged, not young. The mean founder age for the 1 in 1,000 fastest growing new ventures is 45.0. The findings are broadly similar when considering high-technology sectors, entrepreneurial hubs, and successful firm exits. Prior experience in the specific industry predicts much greater rates of entrepreneurial success. These findings strongly reject common hypotheses that emphasize youth as a key trait of successful entrepreneurs.

Suggested Citation

Azoulay, Pierre and Jones, Benjamin F. and Kim, J. Daniel and Miranda, Javier, Age and High-Growth Entrepreneurship (April 2018). NBER Working Paper No. w24489, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3158929

Pierre Azoulay (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://scripts.mit.edu/~pazoulay/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Benjamin F. Jones

Northwestern University ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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J. Daniel Kim

The Wharton School ( email )

3641 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States

Javier Miranda

US Census Bureau — Economy-Wide Statistics Division ( email )

Washington, DC
United States

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