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The authors find non pecuniary benefits of business ownership to be an important consideration in explaining small business formation. Using a variety of data sources, the authors show that the overwhelming majority of small businesses do not match the theoretical concept of an entrepreneur. Specifically, nearly all small businesses do not grow, do not want to grow, do not innovate, and do not want to innovate. Second, using new data from the Panel Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics, the authors show that a majority of small business owners report that non pecuniary benefits (e.g., being one's own boss, having flexibility over one's schedule) were the primary reason that they started their business.
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