We develop and test a theory of entrepreneurial endurance, or the likelihood that an entrepreneur will continue an entrepreneurial venture from one period to the next. Conceptualizing entrepreneurial endurance as a function of the entrepreneur's competence in and commitment to the entrepreneurial role, we argue that both factors should be shaped by the entrepreneur's prior employment. We focus on the effects of employer size on the prospective entrepreneur, and argue that employer size has a negative effect on both entrepreneurial competence and commitment. This implies that entrepreneurs from small firms should have superior economic performance and, for a given level of performance, be less likely to exit entrepreneurship. We find support for these predictions in analyses of entrepreneurs in a unique dataset characterizing the Danish labor market.
This is an electronic version of an article published in Industrial and Corporate Change. The final version may be found at < http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icc/dtr025 >.