Does education enhance entrepreneurship?

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2022-10-24
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Ahn, Kunwon
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© 2022 Springer Nature Switzerland AG. Part of Springer Nature.
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Winters, John
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Center for Agricultural and Rural Development

The Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) conducts innovative public policy and economic research on agricultural, environmental, and food issues. CARD uniquely combines academic excellence with engagement and anticipatory thinking to inform and benefit society.

CARD researchers develop and apply economic theory, quantitative methods, and interdisciplinary approaches to create relevant knowledge. Communication efforts target state and federal policymakers; the research community; agricultural, food, and environmental groups; individual decision-makers; and international audiences.

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Economics

The Department of Economic Science was founded in 1898 to teach economic theory as a truth of industrial life, and was very much concerned with applying economics to business and industry, particularly agriculture. Between 1910 and 1967 it showed the growing influence of other social studies, such as sociology, history, and political science. Today it encompasses the majors of Agricultural Business (preparing for agricultural finance and management), Business Economics, and Economics (for advanced studies in business or economics or for careers in financing, management, insurance, etc).

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The Department of Economic Science was founded in 1898 under the Division of Industrial Science (later College of Liberal Arts and Sciences); it became co-directed by the Division of Agriculture in 1919. In 1910 it became the Department of Economics and Political Science. In 1913 it became the Department of Applied Economics and Social Science; in 1924 it became the Department of Economics, History, and Sociology; in 1931 it became the Department of Economics and Sociology. In 1967 it became the Department of Economics, and in 2007 it became co-directed by the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Business.

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1898–present

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  • Department of Economic Science (1898–1910)
  • Department of Economics and Political Science (1910-1913)
  • Department of Applied Economics and Social Science (1913–1924)
  • Department of Economics, History and Sociology (1924–1931)
  • Department of Economics and Sociology (1931–1967)

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Abstract
Formal education is correlated with entrepreneurial activity and success, but correlation does not indicate causation. Education and entrepreneurship are both influenced by other related factors. The current study estimates causal effects of formal education on entrepreneurship outcomes by instrumenting for an individual’s years of schooling using cohort mean years of maternal schooling observed decades prior. We differentiate self-employment by industry employment growth and firm incorporation status. Policymakers are especially interested in entrepreneurship with potential to create substantial employment growth. We find that an additional year of schooling increases self-employment in high-growth industries by 1.12 percentage points for women and by 0.88 percentage points for men. Education reduces the probability of male selfemployment in shrinking industries. Education also increases incorporated self-employment for women and men and reduces unincorporated self-employment among men but not women. The overall probability of self-employment increases with education for women but is unaffected by education for men. The results suggest that formal education enhances entrepreneurship.
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JEL Classification: I20, J24, L26

This is a manuscript of an article published as Ahn, K., Winters, J.V. Does education enhance entrepreneurship?. Small Bus Econ (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11187-022-00701-x. Posted with permission.
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