A number of lab experiments in recent years have analyzed people’s willingness to com-pete. But to what extent is competitive behavior in the lab associated with field choicesand outcomes? We address this question in a setting of entrepreneurship, where we com-bine lab evidence on competitiveness with field evidence on investment, employment,profit, and sales. We find strong evidence that competitiveness in the lab is positively asso-ciated with competitive choices in the field (investment and employment) and weaker,but suggestive, evidence of a positive link to successful field outcomes (profit and sales).Other non-cognitive skills measured in the lab, including risk- and time preferences andconfidence, and cognitive skills are less consistently associated with the field variables.Our findings suggest that the willingness to compete in the lab identifies an importantentrepreneurial trait that shapes the entrepreneur’s field choices and to some extent alsofield outcomes.
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