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Mecca or Mirage? The Determinants and Outcomes of Entrepreneurship of Recent Harvard Business School Graduates

Posted: 19 Mar 2007  

Ulrike Malmendier

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Josh Lerner

Harvard Business School - Finance Unit; Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: March 15, 2007

Abstract

A core question in the analysis of entrepreneurship is which determinants induce people to become entrepreneurs and which determinants predict entrepreneurial success. We use a unique data set on Harvard Business School graduates from 1997 to 2004, who participated in a business plan contest, to analyze this question. We find that family status, risk aversion, and academic achievement are orthogonal to the decision to become entrepreneur but have strong predictive power for entrepreneurial success. Moreover, while the business school environment and, in particular, business school peers appear to induce more entrepreneurship, they are also associated with entrepreneurial failure. Our findings suggest that business school graduates may not sufficiently adjust to the importance of individual predictors of entrepreneurial success.

Keywords: Entrepreneurship, Peer Effects

JEL Classification: M13, G1

Suggested Citation

Malmendier, Ulrike and Lerner, Josh, Mecca or Mirage? The Determinants and Outcomes of Entrepreneurship of Recent Harvard Business School Graduates (March 15, 2007). AFA 2008 New Orleans Meetings Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=972691 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.972691

Ulrike Malmendier (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

549 Evans Hall #3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
United States
(510) 642-8724 (Phone)
(510) 642-6615 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.berkeley.edu/~ulrike/

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business ( email )

545 Student Services Building, #1900
2220 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.iza.org/en/webcontent/personnel/photos/index_html?key=918

Josh Lerner

Harvard Business School - Finance Unit ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-6065 (Phone)
617-496-7357 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.people.hbs.edu/jlerner/

Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit

Cambridge, MA 02163
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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