Article | Journal of Economic History | September 1999

Clogs to Clogs in Three Generations? Explaining Entrepreneurial Performance in Britain Since 1850

by Tom Nicholas

Abstract

Research into culture and entrepreneurship in Britain has been dominated by casual empiricism. This article shows the benefits of using a new method. Lifetime wealth accumulation is specified as a measure of entrepreneurial performance, and applied to data collected from dictionaries of business biography. Industry, region, and religious dissent are ruled out as explanations of entrepreneurial performance. Education and entrepreneurial type are the important predictors. Firm inheritors and those receiving a high-status education experienced relatively low lifetime rates of wealth accumulation. Firm founders, managers, and individuals with a lower-status education were comparatively successful.

Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Performance Evaluation; Biography; Culture; Education; Wealth; Research; Great Britain;

Citation:

Nicholas, Tom. "Clogs to Clogs in Three Generations? Explaining Entrepreneurial Performance in Britain Since 1850." Journal of Economic History (September 1999).