Despite the widespread popularity of entrepreneurship education, there is thin evidence on its effectiveness in improving employment outcomes over the medium to long-term. A potential time lag between entrepreneurial intentions and actions is sometimes presented as a reason why employment impacts are rarely observed. Based on a randomized control trial among university students in Tunisia, this paper studies the medium-term impacts of entrepreneurship education four years after students’ graduation. The paper complements earlier evidence that documented small short-term impacts on entry into self-employment and aspirations toward the future one year after graduation. The medium-term results show that the impacts of entrepreneurship education were short-lived. The intervention led to a temporary increase in business ideas and in nascent entrepreneurship. However, there is no sustained impact on self-employment or employment outcomes four years after graduation. The intervention induced some lasting impacts on business knowledge, but not on business networks. A large share of graduates reports financial constraints as the most prevailing barrier to entrepreneurship.
“Latent entrepreneurship”, measured through the engagement in independent economic activities, “nascent entrepreneurship” measured through the concrete actions taken to develop a business project and “actual entrepreneurship.
One year after graduation, participants had higher business knowledge but not a more entrepreneurial mindset nor a stronger network in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and are 3 percentage points more likely to be self-employed (compared to a 4.4% self-employment rate for non-participants). However, this effect vanishes three years later.
The short run effect on self-employment is compensated by a decrease in wage employment (substitution effect), leaving overall employment unaffected around a low 28% employment rate.Four years after graduation, participants are more likely to have tried and set up projects at some point since graduation and to have prepared a business plan for their project. However, they are not more likely to have undertaken any additional preparatory actions nor to have succeeded in their attempts to set up their businesses. Almost three out of four reported access to capital as one of the main constraints to launch a successful business. Four year after graduation, participants are not more likely to prefer self-employment