Abstract

The ‘jack-of-all trades’ view of entrepreneurship posits that having a background in a large number of different fields increases the probability of becoming entrepreneur (Lazear, 2004). The intuition behind this is that entrepreneurs must have sufficient knowledge in a variety of fields to put together the many ingredients required for the survival and success of a business, while it suffices and pays to be a specialist in one specific field required by the job taken for paid employees. Recent empirical work (Wagner, 2003, 2006) confirms Lazear’s hypothesis, showing that the probability of being self-employed is clearly higher for jack-of-all trades individuals, i.e. those with a higher number of different kinds of professional training and a higher number of changes of professions in the past.

However, to our knowledge, no studies exist which have investigated the question whether women’s lower probability to become entrepreneur can be attributed to the fact that they are less jack-of-all-trades than men. We aim at filling this gap, by testing empirically the hypothesis that women’s lower probability to become self-employed might be attributed to the fact that they are less jack-of-all-trades than men.

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