The aim of this study is to analyze the effectiveness of early entrepreneurship education. To this end, a randomized field experiment to evaluate a leading entrepreneurship education program that is taught worldwide in the final grade of primary school is conduct. The focus is on pupils׳ development of entrepreneurship knowledge and a set of non-cognitive skills relevant for entrepreneurial activity. The results indicate that knowledge is unaffected by the program. However, the program has a robust positive effect on non-cognitive entrepreneurial skills. This is surprising since previous evaluations found zero or negative effects. Because these earlier studies all pertain to entrepreneurship education for adolescents, this result tentatively suggests that non-cognitive entrepreneurial skills are best developed at an early age. As the entrepreneurship program has various features besides its entrepreneurship content, it must be left to future research to determine which specific element has the greatest impact on the development of non-cognitive entrepreneurial skills.
Non-cognitive Entrepreneurial Skills: risk taking propensity, creativity, need for achievement, self-efficacy, social orientation, pro-activity, persistence, analytical skills, motivating skills. Entrepreneurship Knowledge: percentage of correct knowledge questions. Entrepreneurial Intentions: questions regarding future career aspirations.
The programme had a positive impact on non-cognitive entrepreneurial skills, such as creativity, self-efficacy, need for achievement, risk taking propensity, persistence, proactivity and analytical skills. But it did not help students to build their knowledge on what an entrepreneur does or what it entails to run a business.If anything, the programme negatively influenced the preferences of students to pursue a professional career as entrepreneurs.