This study challenges the basic reasoning behind Lazear’s theory on entrepreneurship (2005). Based on the key motive of maximizing one’s lifetime income, Lazear posits that individuals with a balanced set of skills should have a higher probability of being self-employed. His “Jack-of-all-trades” hypothesis presumes that entrepreneurs need sufficient knowledge in a variety of areas to succeed, while paid employees benefit from being specialists in a certain area demanded by the labor market. Because most women-led businesses are neither based on the motive of making money nor are they growth oriented, we argue that maximizing their lifetime income is not the main motivation of many women to start a business. However, we argue that Lazear’s theory can be extended to motivations that are mostly stated for women entrepreneurs as well. We apply it to a specific representative sample of 1384 women graduates in Germany and test our hypothesis with logit regression. A dichotomized measure indicating whether a women graduate was self-employed (n = 706) or not (n = 678) served as the dependent variable. Our results widely confirm Lazear’s assumption for women graduates who run relatively small businesses in terms of sales and employment: professional training, balanced industry experience, and balanced entrepreneurship-based self-efficacy increase the probability of being self-employed. Solo self-employed tend to have balanced industry experience more often than those being in a team or having employees. Lazear’s theory has male as the norm, and as such, does not readily apply to the case of women—but could and should be extended to women’s specifics.
Small Business Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 29, 2016
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