We examine the impact of adverse shocks in childhood on entrepreneurship in adulthood. We focus on the Vietnam War, which represents one of the most intense conflicts in history. Using data from the 1997/1998 Vietnam Living Standard Survey (VLSS) and bombing intensity data, we find that bombing intensity is associated with a higher probability of being an entrepreneur. Specifically, our results suggest that a 10% increase in bombing intensity generates a 4.8 percentage point increase in the probability of being self-employed in the last seven days, and a 2.3 percentage point increase in the probability of being self-employed in the last 12 months. This finding is robust to a suite of robustness checks. We explore economic growth, education, health infrastructure, prevalence of wage-earning opportunities and social capital as potential mechanisms and find that social capital mediates the relationship between the War and entrepreneurship in Vietnam.
- Childhood shocks