Running in the Family: Parental Role Models in Entrepreneurship

Anders Hoffmann, Martin Junge, Nikolaj Malchow-Møller

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


It is well established that children of self-employed parents are more likely to become self-employed themselves, but the reasons are still hotly debated. Using Danish register data, we investigate the importance and workings of parental role models for the probability of becoming self-employed. We find that the effect of a self-employed father (mother) is much higher for males (females). These results are statistically and economically very significant, and they survive when we control for parental wealth and work experience from the parents’ firms and when we exclude cases where the offspring takes over the family business. This points to a strong role for parental role models in explaining why self-employment runs in the family.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSmall Business Economics
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)79-104
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Entrepreneurship
  • Parents
  • Role models
  • Self-employment
  • Social-learning theory

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