Small Business Economics

, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 783–796 | Cite as

Education and entrepreneurial success

  • Ivar KolstadEmail author
  • Arne Wiig


This paper estimates the effect of education on the success of entrepreneurial activity, using survey data from Malawi. An instrument variable approach is used to address the endogeneity of education. We find a significant and substantial effect of an added year of primary education on entrepreneurial profitability. This is consistent with theoretical arguments that primary schooling provides a generalised form of competence that underpins the variety of skills an entrepreneur needs to succeed in business. Results are robust to non-random selection into entrepreneurship.


Entrepreneurship Returns to schooling Endogeneity Malawi 

JEL Classifications

L26 J24 C30 



The authors thank Erik Ø. Sørensen, Magnus Hatlebakk, Bertil Tungodden, Eyolf Jul-Larsen, Øivind Anti Nilsen, and two anonymous reviewers for valuable comments and advice. We are grateful to the National Statistical Office (NSO) of Malawi for providing the data. However, further processing and application of the data was the responsibility of the authors and the views expressed are those of the authors and not of the NSO.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chr. Michelsen InstituteBergenNorway

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