Under-Investments in Innovative SMEs: The Effect of Entrepreneurial Cognitive  Bias1

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The literature documents a shortage in the supply of external funding to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in general and to innovative SMEs in particular. This study separates cognitive from financial constraints on innovative SMEs’ growth opportunities. Using data gathered through in-depth interviews with the CEOs of 115 SMEs, we reveal that over and above a problem with supply, there exists a twofold problem on the demand side. Specifically, we document that there is a tendency for these companies to avoid approaching external funding sources, especially ones that gear their investments toward innovation. Our results reveal a cognitive bias (over-pessimism) affecting the entrepreneurs’ (lack of) demand for external financing over and above other firm-specific factors. CEO tenure - our proxy for human and social capital - is significantly lower (higher) in firms that did (did not) pursue external funding. This finding may provide some support for our hypothesis regarding the cognitive bias and over-pessimism of the more veteran CEOs who have had negative experiences regarding recruiting external resources. The impact of this entrepreneurial cognition is shown to be economically detrimental to the enterprise. Nevertheless, the negative effects are not limited to the micro level, but have implications at the macro level as well, due to underrealization of the potential for employment, productivity, and growth of the firms comprising the vast majority of the economy.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHuman Capital and Assets in the Networked World
EditorsMeir Russ
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages38
ISBN (Electronic)9781787148277
ISBN (Print)9781787148284
StatePublished - 19 Aug 2017


  • Entrepreneurial cognition bias
  • Entrepreneurial finance
  • Entrepreneurs
  • External funding
  • Innovation
  • SMEs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (all)
  • General Business, Management and Accounting


Dive into the research topics of 'Under-Investments in Innovative SMEs: The Effect of Entrepreneurial Cognitive  Bias1'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this