Tucked in the back of Venkataraman’s 1997 work on the distinctive domain of entrepreneurship (DDE) lies a pointer to a question each individual must face when choosing to start a new venture; “is entrepreneurship worth it?” Inventorying costs associated with risk, uncertainty, and illiquidity against surpluses from financial and psychological factors unique to entrepreneurship, Venkataraman tempts readers to tally entrepreneurial returns. The authors summarize and integrate an academic study of these various cost and return components over the past 20 years using Venkataraman’s original framework. The authors find the answer to the question of “is entrepreneurship worth it?” varies with time. Researcher’s answer to the question has shifted from an early view that entrepreneurs sacrifice financial gain in exchange for soft psychological benefits to a more positive view that entrepreneurs are rewarded both financially and psychologically for the unique costs borne in the DDE. But the rewards are not immediate. In entrepreneur time, break-even emerges by gradually overcoming an initial deficit. As surpluses accrue, returns to entrepreneurs likely eventually exceed those of their wage-earning peers.
Dew, N. and Read, S. (2019), "Is it Worth It? The Relevant Performance Yardstick for the Entrepreneur", Katz, J.A. and Corbet, A.C. (Ed.) Seminal Ideas for the Next Twenty-Five Years of Advances (Advances in Entrepreneurship, Firm Emergence and Growth, Vol. 21), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 35-59. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1074-754020190000021003
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