Entry into Entrepreneurship, Endogenous Adaption of Risk Attitudes and Entrepreneurial Survival
Empirical studies use the assumption of stability in individual risk attitudes when searching for a relationship between attitude to risk and the decision to become and survive as an entrepreneur. We show that risk attitudes do not remain stable but face endogenous adaption when starting a new business. This adaption is associated with entrepreneurial survival. The results show that entrepreneurs with low risk tolerance before entering self-employment and increased risk tolerance when self-employed have a higher probability of survival than similar entrepreneurs experiencing a decrease in the willingness to take risks. We find the opposite results for entrepreneurs who express a higher willingness to take risks before becoming self-employed: in this case, a decrease in tolerance of risk is correlated with an increasing survival probability.
On the Stability of Preferences: Repercussions of Entrepreneurship on Risk Attitudes
The majority of empirical studies make use of the assumption of stable preferences in searching for a relationship between risk attitude and the decision to become and stay an entrepreneur. Yet empirical evidence on this relationship is limited. In this paper, we show that entry into entrepreneurship itself plays a decisive role in shaping risk preferences. We find that becoming self-employed is indeed associated with a relative increase in risk attitudes, an increase that is quantitatively large and significant even after controlling for individual characteristics, different employment status, and duration of entrepreneurship. The findings suggest that studies assuming that risk attitudes are stable over time suffer from reverse causality; risk attitudes do not remain stable over time, and individual preferences change endogenously.