NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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J. Daniel Kim

University of Pennsylvania
Wharton School
3620 Locust Walk
2029 Steinberg-Dietrich Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: University of Pennsylvania

NBER Working Papers and Publications

April 2018Age and High-Growth Entrepreneurship
with Pierre Azoulay, Benjamin Jones, Javier Miranda: w24489
Many observers, and many investors, believe that young people are especially likely to produce the most successful new firms. We use administrative data at the U.S. Census Bureau to study the ages of founders of growth-oriented start-ups in the past decade. Our primary finding is that successful entrepreneurs are middle-aged, not young. The mean founder age for the 1 in 1,000 fastest growing new ventures is 45.0. The findings are broadly similar when considering high-technology sectors, entrepreneurial hubs, and successful firm exits. Prior experience in the specific industry predicts much greater rates of entrepreneurial success. These findings strongly reject common hypotheses that emphasize youth as a key trait of successful entrepreneurs.
 
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