Do University Entrepreneurship Programs Promote Entrepreneurship?

Yong Suk Lee and Charles Eesley examine how university entrepreneurship programs affect entrepreneurial activity using a unique entrepreneurship‐focused survey of Stanford alumni. OLS regressions find a positive relationship between program participation and entrepreneurship activities. However, endogeneity hinders causal interpretation. They utilize the fact that the entrepreneurship programs were implemented at the school level.

Using the introduction of each school's program as an instrument for program participation, they find that the Business School program has a negative to zero impact on entrepreneurship rates. Participation in the Engineering School program has no impact on entrepreneurship rates. However, the Business School initiative decreases startup failure and increases firm revenue. University entrepreneurship programs may not increase entrepreneurship rates, but help students better identify their potential as entrepreneurs and improve the quality of entrepreneurship.