- The more business owners the merrier? The role of tertiary education
- Tinbergen Institute discussion paper
- Number of pages
- Tinbergen Institute
- Document type
- Working paper
- Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB)
- Amsterdam School of Economics Research Institute (ASE-RI)
Amsterdam Business School Research Institute (ABS-RI)
Policy in developed countries is often based on the assumption that higher business ownership rates induce economic value. Recent microeconomic empirical evidence casts doubts on the validity of this assumption or, at least, leads to a more nuanced view: Especially the top performing business owners are responsible for the value creation of business owners. Other labor market participants would contribute more to economic value creation as an employee than a business owner. The implied existence of an 'optimal' business ownership rate would thus replace the dictum of 'the more business owners, the merrier'. We attempt to establish whether there is such an optimal level, while investigating the role of tertiary education. Two findings stand out. First, by estimating extended versions of traditional Cobb Douglas production functions on a sample of 19 OECD countries over the period 1981-2006, we find indeed robust evidence of an optimal business ownership rate (at around 12.5%, on average). Second, the relation between business ownership and macroeconomic productivity is steeper for countries with higher participation rates in tertiary education. Thus, the optimal business ownership rate tends to decrease with tertiary education levels. This is consistent with microeconomic theory and evidence showing that entrepreneurs with superior levels of human capital run larger firms.
If you believe that digital publication of certain material infringes any of your rights or (privacy) interests, please let the Library know, stating your reasons. In case of a legitimate complaint, the Library will make the material inaccessible and/or remove it from the website. Please Ask the Library, or send a letter to: Library of the University of Amsterdam, Secretariat, Singel 425, 1012 WP Amsterdam, The Netherlands. You will be contacted as soon as possible.