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CEP discussion paper
Entrepreneurship: Can the Jack-of-All-Trades Attitude be Aquired?
Olmo Silva
December 2004
Paper No' CEPDP0665:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: M13; J23; J24

Tags: entrepreneurship; occupational choice; skills

Entrepreneurs are believed to be the ultimate engine of modern economic systems. Yet, the study of entrepreneurship suffers from the lack of consensus on the most crucial question: what makes an entrepreneur? A recent theory developed by Edward Lazear suggests that individuals mastering a balanced set of talents across different fields, i.e. the Jacks-of-All-Trades (JATs), have a high probability of becoming entrepreneurs. In this paper, I investigate whether the JAT Attitude is just an innate ability or a skill that can be trained to enhance individuals’ chances of becoming entrepreneurs. Using panel techniques, I show that changes in the spread of knowledge across different fields do not increase the probability of becoming an entrepreneur. This suggests that, if the JAT Attitude matters for entrepreneurship, it is an innate and time-invariant individual attribute, rather than a skill that can be acquired.