Entrepreneurs exit their businesses due to selection pressures they experience in the market place. In addition to this well-known ex-post decision to exit, entrepreneurs select ex-ante whether they are willing to pursue an entrepreneurial career at all, or to give up their entrepreneurial intentions. Hardly anything is known about the latter selection process in imagined markets that precedes the creation of variation and selection process in real markets. This article explores these two selection processes using survey data on 20,000 individuals in 27 European countries and the United States in 2007. We distinguish business failure from exit by sell-off. Individuals in the United States are less likely to exit imagined markets and are more likely to exit the real market than are Europeans. Individuals in a corporatist welfare state regime have relatively high chances to exit imagined markets but low chances to exit real markets (due to failure). Business owners in metropolitan and urban environments are more likely to fail than their rural counterparts, while individuals with a high risk tolerance and individuals with a self-employed parent are less likely to exit imagined or real markets (via business failure). In short, this study shows that exit in real and in imagined markets is differently affected by individual characteristics as well as by the competitive and institutional environment.

entrepreneurial exit, entrepreneurship, market selection, nascent entrepreneurs
Employment Determination; Job Creation; Demand for Labor; Self-Employment (jel J23), Entrepreneurship (jel L26)
dx.doi.org/10.1093/icc/dtp047, hdl.handle.net/1765/20807
ERIM Top-Core Articles
Industrial and Corporate Change
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Stam, E, Thurik, A.R, & van der Zwan, P.W. (2010). Entrepreneurial exit in real and imagined markets. Industrial and Corporate Change, 19(4), 1109–1139. doi:10.1093/icc/dtp047