Publications Education *Journal Article

Cut me some slack! An exploration of slack resources and technology-mediated human capital investments in entrepreneurship


In this paper, the authors explore the relationship that slack resources and technology-mediated human capital investments can have on individuals’ entrepreneurial intentions. Focusing on human capital investments that individuals make through education and work, the authors analyze the relationship among formal online learning opportunities, informal skill development in the gig economy and entrepreneurial intentions.


Leveraging a novel dataset that merges administrative tax data with a survey of over 8,528 low- and moderate-income (LMI) households, this study uses machine learning and propensity score weighting to examine the likelihood that individuals who make these technology-mediated human capital investments will have increased odds of entrepreneurial intentions when compared to similar individuals who do not make these investments.


The authors find that both partaking in online learning and working in the gig economy are significantly associated with increased odds of entrepreneurial intentions. Furthermore, through a variety of robustness and mechanism checks, the authors find that technology-mediation is an important factor in these relationships and that informal skill development and career preparation is one way in which gig employment influences entrepreneurial intentions.

Research limitations/implications

As the study’s data come from a cross-sectional survey, the authors cannot make causal inferences about the relationship between online learning, gig employment and entrepreneurial intentions. Thus, future research should explore sources of longitudinal data.

Practical implications

This study has practical implications for individuals and policymakers that seek to increase entrepreneurship among LMI households.


Despite a wealth of research on the relationships among slack resources, technology and innovation at the firm level, there is little of this research at the individual level – especially among LMI individuals. The authors begin to fill this important gap.


Jabbari, Jason; Roll, Stephen; Bufe, Sam; and Chun, Yung. “Cut me some slack! An exploration of slack resources and technology-mediated human capital investments in entrepreneurship,” (January 17, 2022). International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research.