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An Everlasting Battle between Theoretical Knowledge and Practical Skills? The Joint Impact of Education and Professional Experience on Entrepreneurial Success



Objective: The objective of the article is to examine the complementarity between education and professional experience and the complementarity’s impact on the probability of entrepreneurial success.

Research Design & Methods: To test the complementarity, we utilise a sample of both successful entrepreneurs and salary workers with previous entrepreneurial experience and a logit model with a dependent variable indicating the respondent’s membership in one of these two groups. Secondly, we use net income as a proxy of entrepreneurial success and run ordered logit regressions on a sample of successful entrepreneurs.

Findings: Our study confirms the existence of complementarity between education and breadth of professional experience and its impact on the probability of an entrepreneur’s success.

Implications & Recommendations: Our findings are informative for those planning or pursuing an entrepreneurial career, but they are also relevant for entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurship research.

Contribution & Value Added: We add to the knowledge of entrepreneurial success factors and the relationships among them. We particularise Lazear’s theory of entrepreneurship by addressing the complementarity effect between education and professional experience.


entrepreneurial success; complementarity; Lazear’s theory of entre-preneurship; Mincer’s wage model

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Author Biography

Agnieszka Kurczewska

A researcher in the field of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education, holding a postdoctoral degree in economics, currently employed as associate professor at the Faculty of Economics and Sociology at the University of Lodz, a member of the Board of Directors of the European Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, associate editor of the Journal of Small Business Management.

Correspondence to: Associate Professor Agnieszka Kurczewska, PhD, University of Lodz, Faculty of Economics and Sociology, Institute of Economics, 90-214 Lodz, 41/43 Rewolucji 1905 St.  Poland, e-mail:,

Wirginia Doryń

Assistant Professor in the Department of Economic Mechanisms at the Faculty of Economics and Sociology, the University of Lodz. Master of Economics and Computer Science, PhD in Economics (University of Lodz, Poland). Her research interests include internationalization of enterprises, global value chains and text data analysis.

Correspondence to: Wirginia Doryń, PhD, University of Lodz, Faculty of Economics and Sociology, Institute of Economics, 90-214 Lodz, 41/43 Rewolucji 1905 St. Poland,

Dorota Wawrzyniak

Assistant Professor in the Department of Economic Mechanisms at the Faculty of Economics and Sociology, the University of Lodz. Master of Computer Science and Econometrics, PhD in Economics (University of Lodz, Poland). Her research interests include foreign direct investment, investment climate and selected issues of environmental protection.

Correspondence to: Dorota Wawrzyniak, PhD, University of Lodz, Faculty of Economics and Sociology, Institute of Economics, 90-214 Lodz, 41/43 Rewolucji 1905 St. Poland,


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