This paper empirically examines the role of personal capital in the entry decision for US high-technology entrepreneurs. Our innovative approach utilizes both survey data and data from economics-based field experiments, which enables us to elicit and control for the risk attitudes of individual entrepreneurs in the study. Empirical findings suggest that (1) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants, (2) credit cards, and (3) earnings from a salaried job are among the most important sources of funds for entrepreneurs in their decision to start up a firm. Our findings support Evans and Jovanovic (Journal of Political Economy 97(4):808–827, 1989) in that wealth appears to have a positive impact on the probability of starting up a firm, even when controlling for risk attitudes; however, risk attitudes do not appear to have a strong role to play in the entry decision overall. Policy implications suggest that firm start-ups are dependent on access to capital in both initial and early stages of development, and that government funding, including SBIR grants, is an important source of capital for potential and nascent high-technology entrepreneurs.
Small Business Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 5, 2009
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