Toward a Theory of Family Capital and Entrepreneurship: Antecedents and Outcomes

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Abstract

We propose that family capital—human, social, and financial—influences entrepreneurial activity and self-employment rates. Furthermore, family capital has some unique advantages: It is difficult to imitate, can be mobilized quickly, has low transaction costs, and can be transferred efficiently across generations. We propose a model describing the relationship between family capital and entrepreneurial outcomes based on: (1) family patterns, (2) family capital, and (3) entrepreneurial outcomes. We also propose several moderator variables that would affect the formation and transfer of family capital. Recent family trends (e.g., marriage and fertility rates, cohabitation, divorce, and out-of-wedlock birthrates) may affect family capital in the United States and elsewhere.

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