Elgar original reference
Edited by David B. Audretsch, Oliver Falck, Stephan Heblich and Adam Lederer
Oliver Falck, Robert Gold and Stephan Heblich INTRODUCTION In the USA, it seems that you cannot move without bumping into one; in Europe, they are fervently longed for; all over the world, universities are suspected of being their breeding ground. Entrepreneurs – those mystical beings who are believed to have such a positive influence on innovation and economic growth – are enjoying a global demand. As to what drives the entrepreneur, Schumpeter quite romantically describes it as ‘the will to conquer’, ‘the dream and the will to found a private kingdom’, and ‘the joy of creating, of getting things done’ (1912, p. 93). All well and good, but it does not explain where these Schumpeterian ‘entrepreneurial endowments’ (cf. Lazear, 2005) come from. In this chapter, we shed some light on this crucial question. Are entrepreneurs born or made? Is it nature or nurture that is responsible for entrepreneurial endowments? We argue that such endowments are the result of a combination of innate genetics as well as education, i.e. socialization and schooling. In this chapter, we focus on the role of socialization and (pre-university) schooling, i.e. adolescents’ education in a broader sense and, thus, focus on the early (in the life cycle) formation of entrepreneurial endowments. Early entrepreneurial endowments, unfortunately, are not directly observable, so we look at something that is – the ‘entrepreneurial intentions’ of university students, i.e. their desire to become an entrepreneur in future. In this context, Falck et al. (2009) show that entrepreneurial intentions expressed in adolescence strongly predict future...