It is often assumed that necessity-driven self-employed perform worse than their opportunitydriven counterparts. This assumption is mainly based on macro-level data and outcomes but empirical evidence at the individual level is lacking. Moreover, many different operationalizations of necessity-driven self-employment in the literature blur the discussion. This paper investigates whether the start-up motivation (opportunity versus necessity) influences entrepreneurial performance of a subset of entrepreneurs, viz. the solo self-employed. We also explore to what extent human capital measures mediate this relation. This is, to our knowledge, the first study that, both theoretically and empirically, distinguishes between start-up motivations within the population of solo self-employed.


Note: Author email changed to ne.devries@maastrichtuniversity.nl