Verbal and mathematical reasoning are key cognitive skills which individuals use throughout their lives to create economic value. We argue that individuals undertaking entrepreneurial tasks also draw on these skills, and we study how best these skills should be combined in entrepreneurial teams. To that purpose we conduct a randomized field experiment using data from the BizWorld entrepreneurship education program. Four different types of teams are created which differ in terms of their cognitive skill composition. Our results show that balanced skills are beneficial for a team's venture performance only if it comes from within-person skill balance, and that combining team members with different skills in mixed teams does not compensate for a lack of members who individually possess balanced cognitive skills.

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Keywords Entrepreneurship, Field experiment, Skill balance, Team diversity, Team performance
JEL Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity (jel J24), Firm Performance: Size, Age, Profit, and Sales (jel L25), Entrepreneurship (jel L26), New Firms; Startups (jel M13)
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Journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization
Rosendahl Huber, L. (Laura), Sloof, R. (Randolph), van Praag, M, & Parker, S.C. (2020). Diverse cognitive skills and team performance: A field experiment based on an entrepreneurship education program. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 177, 569–588. doi:10.1016/j.jebo.2020.06.030