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African Successes, Volume IIHuman Capital$
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Sebastian Edwards, Simon Johnson, and David N. Weil

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226316055

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226316192.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 February 2021

Success in Entrepreneurship

Success in Entrepreneurship

Doing the Math

(p.281) 9 Success in Entrepreneurship
African Successes, Volume II

Michael Kremer

Jonathan Robinson

Olga Rostapshova

University of Chicago Press

Outside of agriculture, the family owned business is the most common form of enterprise in low-income countries. There is tremendous heterogeneity in how such firms perform. For instance, in the retail sector, some firms hold large inventories and earn significant profits, while others hold minimal stocks and provide little more than subsistence income for their owners. However, it is an open question why there is such heterogeneity in the success of small firms. This paper examines the association between entrepreneurial success and firm and owner characteristics, in the context of the small retail sector in Western Kenya. Earlier work finds very high rates of return to inventories. Inventories are positively associated with math skills. Since inventories and profits are positively correlated, math skills predict profits as well. Math skills are also robustly correlated with profits conditional on inventories.

Keywords:   Kenya, small firms, entrepreneurship, business success, cognitive ability, mathematical ability

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