Creating Identikits of Entrepreneurs from 1850 to Present
POLITICAL SCIENCES |

Creating Identikits of Entrepreneurs from 1850 to Present

THIS IS WHAT ANDREA COLLI IS DOING IN A PROJECT IN COLLABORATION WITH SOME BOCCONI STUDENTS

A few years ago, Andrea Colli was contributing to a biographical dictionary of Italian entrepreneurs, when  he had the idea of using Quantitative Prosopography to analyze the biographies of world businessmen to identify the qualities of a successful entrepreneur. The project is currently self-financed and carried out with the help of some Bocconi near-graduates. The database features entrepreneurs in Europe and North America from 1850 to the present. “The entrepreneurial dictionaries are not written following scientific criteria, but they have two positive features: they are similar to each other and offer a good overview of business histories in different contexts,” says Colli, Head of the Department of Social and Political Sciences.

The biographies have been summarized in a database with around 90 variables ranging from education to kinship to political connections. Multiple regression models were used to understand which variables are most relevant in explaining three types of entrepreneurial success: economic success, fame, social mobility. “Our first result is somehow surprising: a high level of education is not necessary for success. After all, an entrepreneur with a low level of education tends to be more risk willing and is more likely to climb the social ladder.” It is no surprise that in Italy, France, the US, England, Scotland and Spain, entrepreneurs participating in politics or having family members involved in politics are more successful than the average. “It is an intuitive fact, but it is also measurable,” Colli says. “Successful entrepreneurship is a mixture of luck, energy and the will to create.”

Read more about this topic:
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Carlo Mammola and Luigi Mastromauro. Predicting Startup Success with Data
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by Claudio Todesco

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