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International Differences in Entrepreneurship$
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Josh Lerner and Antoinette Schoar

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780226473093

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226473109.001.0001

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Who Are the Microenterprise Owners?

Who Are the Microenterprise Owners?

Evidence from Sri Lanka on Tokman versus De Soto

(p.63) 2 Who Are the Microenterprise Owners?
International Differences in Entrepreneurship
Suresh de Mel, David Mckenzie, Christopher Woodruff
University of Chicago Press

This chapter expands on the idea that people who become entrepreneurs differ systematically from those who become either remedial entrepreneurs or employees. It collects a very rich data set of individual characteristics for a sample of over 700 self-employed entrepreneurs, larger business owners, and employees in Sri Lanka. Two-thirds or more of the own-account workers have characteristics that are closer to wage workers than to small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners. Cognitive ability, motivation, and a competitive attitude are among the factors differentiating SME owners from microenterprise owners. Given the large amount of self-employment in low-income countries, these findings suggest that the possibility of job creation from the sector should not be ignored. But the analysis also clearly suggests that finance is not the sole constraint to growth of microenterprises and provides an explanation for the low rates of growth of enterprises supported by microlending.

Keywords:   microenterprise owners, wage workers, low-income countries, own-account workers, employers, medium-sized enterprise

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