Considerable research has examined how entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs differ in their ability to perceive entrepreneurial opportunities. This research suggests entrepreneurs are more risk-seeking, more likely to be raised in a family with entrepreneurial experience, and may even vary in their genetic make-up relative to non-entrepreneurs. Most literature suggests that these differences exist between people before engaging in entrepreneurial endeavors; but other empirical studies suggests these differences arise post hoc.

This paper explores differences between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs by focusing on variation in entrepreneurial alertness. Specifically, it investigates whether entrepreneurial alertness is cued by one’s social identity—rather than by characteristics of the entrepreneur.