Vartuhi Tonoian Howe School, Stevens Institute of Technology
Are Women Less "Jack-of-All-Trades" than Men? An Empirical Test of Lazear's Theory of Entrepreneurship

The Stanford economist, Edward Lazear, developed the "jack-of-all trades" theory of entrepreneurship, positing that having a background in a large number of different fields increases the probability of becoming entrepreneur. Recent empirical work confirms Lazear's hypothesis, showing that the probability of being self-employed increases for individuals with a higher number of different kinds of professional training and also a higher number of changes of professions in the past. Using two representative samples of the German population, this empirical study investigates whether women's lower probability to become entrepreneur can be attributed to the fact that women are less "jack-of-all-trades" than men. We find that women are less "jack-of-all-trades" than men, i.e. they have changed their fields of professional training, occupations and jobs significantly less often than men. Indeed, our results from the Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition method show that this explains roughly 40% of the gender-specific differences in the entry in entrepreneurship.