Rule breakers succeed as entrepreneurs

Smart, rule-breaking teenagers are more likely to become successful entrepreneurs than smart “good kids,” according to new research, reports the Wall Street Journal.

In a working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, economists Ross Levine and Yona Rubinstein . . . find that self-employed workers with incorporated businesses were almost three times more likely to engage in illicit and risky activities as youth than were salaried workers. These behaviors include but aren’t limited to shoplifting, marijuana use, playing hooky at school, drug dealing and assault.

In addition, the self-employed with incorporated businesses were more educated, more likely to come from high-earning, two-parent families, were more apt to score higher on learning aptitude tests and exhibit greater self-esteem than other employment types. “Of course, you have to be smart,” says Mr. Levine. “But it’s a unique combination of breaking rules and being smart that helps you become an entrepreneur.”

Risk-takers with high self-esteem also can get in trouble.  Many financial advisers say they “have to keep their entrepreneur clients in check,” according to the Journal.

Dangerous, educational, fun

The dangerous things you should let your children do include whittling, throwing a spear, playing with fire, climbing a tree, cooking with weird ingredients and taking equipment apart. Danger has been defined down. A not-very-brave girl, I did most of these things. (I never threw a spear, but I made bows and arrows out of garden stakes and used them in our games of Pony Express.)

However, I’ve never licked a nine-volt battery.