African countries are scrambling to bring industrial firms into the continent, and workers face a choice between industrial jobs and self-employment. This column reports the results of a randomised controlled trial of 1,000 job applicants in Ethiopia, which suggests that industrial workers earned no more in a year than those given training as entrepreneurs, and had higher disability rates. Two-thirds of industrial workers chose to quit, suggesting that low wages and poor working conditions are a concern for policymakers who promote industrialisation.
Christopher Blattman, Stefan Dercon, 20 December 2016
Ryan Decker, John Haltiwanger, Ron Jarmin, Javier Miranda, 19 March 2016
Recent evidence suggests that transformational entrepreneurial firms – those that introduce major innovations and make substantial contributions to growth – have been in decline. This column uses US micro data to explore the behaviour of high-growth young firms between 1980 and 2010. A decline in young firm activity in the 1980s and 1990s was dominated by young firms in the retail trade sector. In the post-2000 period, in contrast, a sharp decline in high-growth young businesses in key innovative sectors like high tech suggests there has been a decline in transformational entrepreneurs in this sector.
Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, Daniel Hardy, 04 December 2014
Cultural diversity is increasing globally. This column examines diversity from the point of view of entrepreneurship. It demonstrates that cultural diversity breeds entrepreneurship – but the nature of the diversity is critical. Recent migrants, rather than the descendants of past migrants, create the conditions for a more dynamic entrepreneurial environment. This effect is most clearly substantiated in terms of knowledge-intensive start-ups.
Sascha O. Becker, Hans Hvide, 21 April 2013
Standard microeconomics ignores personalities, but business studies stress the importance of entrepreneurs. This column presents evidence that shows that personalities are important. Looking into the death of a firm’s founder during the first ten years of a company’s existence, the data suggest that entrepreneurs matter – they are the ‘glue’ that holds a business together.