Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship Research
Edited by Robert Blackburn, Frédéric Delmar, Alain Fayolle and Friederike Welter
Chapter 3: The effect of human capital on firm creation: evidence from Spain
The link between entrepreneurship and economic growth varies greatly across different types of entrepreneurship, environmental contexts and conditions (Wennekers and Thurik 1999; Westhead 1995). The entrepreneurship literature shows that individuals’ human capital is a key determinant of any entrepreneurial action (Bosma et al. 2003; Hornsby et al. 1993; McMullen and Shepherd 2006; Shane et al. 2003). In prior studies, human capital theory distinguishes between general and specific human capital (Becker 1964). According to Parker (2011), while entrepreneurs (e.g., individuals who independently create firms) are characterized by a general human capital comprised of knowledge, skills and experiences useful for start-up creation, intrapreneurs (e.g., individuals who create/found a new spin-off for a parent firm) acquire a specific human capital from training programs, experiences and learning processes within existing organizations that have an entrepreneurial focus (e.g., proactive, innovative and risk-taking oriented firms) and indirectly generate a specific type of managerial human capital in their employees (e.g., intrapreneurial experience) (Guerrero and Pe-a 2013). Based on these previous arguments, general human capital (e.g., tertiary education) and specific human capital (e.g., entrepreneurship training, entrepreneurship experience, informal investor experience, intrapreneurial experience) can help inspire individuals who are independently creating a new firm (independent venturing) or launching a spin-off for a parent firm (corporate venturing). In other words, individuals choose employability options taking in account the highest return for the human capital investment (Baumol 1990; Kacperczyk 2012).
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