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“Data Science for Entrepreneurship Research” forthcoming in Small Business Economics

Most of my recent research studies the consequences of datafication (the recent rise of big data and artificial intelligence) on markets, politics, organizations, and societies. This time it’s different. In “Data Science for Entrepreneurship Research: Studying Demand Dynamics for Entrepreneurial Skills in the Netherlands,” co-authored with Patricia Prüfer and just accepted for publication in Small Business Economics, we describe the most prominent data science methods suitable for research in the social sciences (here: applied to the domain of entrepreneurship) and provide links to literature and Internet resources for self-starters. We survey how data science methods have been applied in the entrepreneurship research literature.

As a showcase of how to use data science techniques, based on a data set of 95% of all job vacancies in the Netherlands over a 6-year period with 7.7 million data points, we provide an original analysis of the demand dynamics for entrepreneurial skills. We find that both entrepreneurial and digital skills are in increased demand for managerial positions in the Netherlands over the entire period 2012-2017. We also find (less surprisingly) that due to the hugely growing importance of datafication, amongst digital skills, those on ‘Digital transformation’ and ‘Big data and analytics’ are most valued by managers’ employers (less so for other professions). What is surprising, however, is that one could expect that demand for digital skills would increase most. Our empirical results, however, show the opposite: entrepreneurial skills were significantly more relevant over the six-year period studied. Moreover, the absolute importance of this skill type in managerial job vacancies has increased even more than digital skills.