Many universities are becoming more entrepreneurial by supporting spin-off activities of students and staff, installing entrepreneurship programs and creating networks with local entrepreneurs. But how do these activities affect university graduates’ employment choices? By utilizing different data sources, this question is addressed in the present study. Information collected through a large-scale graduate survey, implemented by the International Centre for Higher Education Research-Kassel, is combined with a ranking system of entrepreneurial orientation among German universities and data on the workforce within the university region. Empirical analysis suggests that the likelihood of entering self-employment is significantly positively related to the entrepreneurial orientation of the university. On the individual level, work experience prior to studying increases the likelihood of graduates entering self-employment while no robust influence of human capital indicators is detected.
Furthermore, I researched the overall number of students in winter term 2006/2007 and in winter term 2007/2008 in the statistical yearbook of 2008 (Statistisches Bundesamt 2008). This research indicates that—while excluding the four disciplines not regarded in the analysis—only slight changes in sample composition exist. For instance, overall, around 47% of students are female which resembles our percentage point. With respect to fields of study, most fields of study have a difference of less than two percentage points, comparing the overall sample of students and the number of graduates regarded in our sample. Only graduates of engineering are slightly underrepresented while economics and management graduates are slightly overrepresented.
The marginal effect of, e.g., efforts in spin-off activity of 0.073 means that the probability of a graduate entering self-employment increases by 7.3% if the variable capturing networks increases by a one-unit change.
The robustness checks do not include the regional share of self-employed persons as this has not been detected to have an influence on graduates’ likelihood of entering self-employment in Table 4. The inclusion of this variable does not affect the findings of the personal covariates presented; further results are available upon request.