Do entrepreneurs really learn? Or do they just tell us that they do?

Julian S. Frankish*, Richard G. Roberts, Alex Coad, Taylor C. Spears, David J. Storey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines the theory and evidence in support of entrepreneurial learning (EL), measured in terms of whether individuals have previously owned a business, and time since start-up. Under this theory, entrepreneurial performance is argued to be enhanced by EL which itself is enhanced by business experience. However, if business performance is strongly influenced by chance then evidence of EL will be difficult to identify. We test for EL using a large scale data set comprising 6671 new firms. We choose business survival over 3 years as our performance measure and then formulate three tests for EL. None of the three tests provide compelling evidence in support of EL.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-106
Number of pages34
JournalIndustrial and Corporate Change
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Feb
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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