Are individuals entering self-employment overly optimistic? an empirical test of plans and projections on nascent entrepreneur expectations


  • Gavin Cassar

    Corresponding author
    1. The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
    • The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 1300 Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365, U.S.A.
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This research examines the rationality of the expectations of nascent entrepreneurs. Consistent with conjectures regarding entry into self-employment, I find substantial overoptimism in nascent entrepreneurs' expectations, in that they overestimate the probability that their nascent activity will result in an operating venture. Further, for those ventures that achieve operation, individuals overestimate the expected future sales and employment. To explain variations in overoptimism, I posit that those individuals who adopt an inside view to forecasting through the use of plans and financial projections, will exhibit greater ex ante bias in their expectations. Consistent with the inside view causing overoptimism in expectations, I find that the preparation of projected financial statements results in more overly optimistic venture sale forecasts. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.