Discussion paper

DP3652 Entrepreneurship in Equilibrium

This Paper compares the financing of new ventures in start-ups (entrepreneurship) and in established firms (intrapreneurship). Intrapreneurship allows established firms to use information on failed intrapreneurs to redeploy them into other jobs. Instead, failed entrepreneurs must seek other jobs in an imperfectly informed external labour market. While this is ex-post inefficient, it provides entrepreneurs with high-powered incentives ex ante. We show that two types of equilibria can arise (and sometimes coexist). In a low (high) entrepreneurship equilibrium, the market for failed entrepreneurs is thin (deep). Internal (external) labour markets are thus particularly valuable, which favours intrapreneurship (entrepreneurship). We also characterize conditions under which there can be too little or too much entrepreneurial activity in equilibrium.


Scharfstein, D and D Gromb (2002), ‘DP3652 Entrepreneurship in Equilibrium‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 3652. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp3652