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Regional Entrepreneurial Heritage in a Socialist and Post-socialist Economy

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  • Michael Wyrwich

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Abstract

The main aim of this paper is to enhance our knowledge of the role of regional entrepreneurial culture that is important to foster economic growth. The paper sheds light on regional differences of self-employment and start-up activities in a socialist and post-socialist economy, which is to the authors’ best knowledge a unique approach. The role of entrepreneurs in a socialist economy was marginal. Entrepreneurial activities were restricted mainly to handicrafts, retailing and gastronomy in the region of analysis of the present paper. This region is the eastern part of Germany which comprises the former socialist German Democratic Republic (GDR). It is shown by regression analysis that regions with a long industrial and entrepreneurial tradition had higher rates of self-employment in socialist times and remarkably higher start-up rates in manufacturing after the transition towards a market economy. Astonishingly those regions with a high share of traditional manufacturing industries with a long regional tradition and where entrepreneurship played an important role in pre-socialist times had higher self-employment rates in 1989. Regions with a high self-employment rate and a high share of traditional manufacturing industries in 1989 have higher start-up rates in manufacturing even more than 10 years after transition and a vast structural change in between. This result holds when controlling for industry structure and several other regional factors. Thus, even the “natural experiment” of four decades of socialism and one of the most severe industrial restructuring and decline of an economy in the 20th century could not destroy the entrepreneurial climate of regions. It seems that some regions have a certain entrepreneurial heritage, which is an important regionally embedded resource. An important implication for policy is that it seems to be long lasting task to turn entrepreneurial laggards into entrepreneurial hotspots since far reaching developments in industrial history seem to matter.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European Regional Science Association in its series ERSA conference papers with number ersa10p495.

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Date of creation: Sep 2011
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Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa10p495

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  1. Florax, Raymond J. G. M. & Folmer, Hendrik & Rey, Sergio J., 2003. "Specification searches in spatial econometrics: the relevance of Hendry's methodology," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 557-579, September.
  2. Michael Fritsch, 2004. "Entrepreneurship, entry and performance of new business compared in two growth regimes: East and West Germany," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 14(5), pages 525-542, December.
  3. Audretsch, David B. & Fritsch, Michael, 1993. "A Note on the Measurement of Entry Rates," Freiberg Working Papers 1993,05, TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  4. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  5. Hall, John & Ludwig, Udo, 1995. "German Unification and the 'Market Adoption' Hypothesis," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(4), pages 491-507, August.
  6. Michael Fritsch & Oliver Falck, 2007. "New Business Formation by Industry over Space and Time: A Multidimensional Analysis," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(2), pages 157-172.
  7. Hans-Werner Sinn, 2000. "Germany's Economic Unification. An Assessment after Ten Years," CESifo Working Paper Series 247, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Vinod Sutaria & Donald A. Hicks, 2004. "New firm formation: Dynamics and determinants," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer, vol. 38(2), pages 241-262, 06.
  9. David Audretsch & Michael Fritsch, 2002. "Growth Regimes over Time and Space," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(2), pages 113-124.
  10. Christine Tamasy, 2006. "Determinants of regional entrepreneurship dynamics in contemporary Germany: A conceptual and empirical analysis," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(4), pages 365-384.
  11. Joachim Wagner & Rolf Sternberg, 2004. "Start-up activities, individual characteristics, and the regional milieu: Lessons for entrepreneurship support policies from German micro data," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer, vol. 38(2), pages 219-240, 06.
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Cited by:
  1. Michael Wyrwich, 2013. "In the name of my parents: Entrepreneurship and the intergenerational transmission of values," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-031, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  2. Michael Fritsch & Michael Wyrwich, 2012. "The Long Persistence of Regional Entrepreneurship Culture: Germany 1925-2005," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-036, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  3. Michael Wyrwich, 2013. "Ready, set, go! Why are some regions entrepreneurial jump-starters?," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-037, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  4. Michael Fritsch & Alina Rusakova, 2012. "Self-Employment after Socialism: Intergenerational Links, Entrepreneurial Values, and Human Capital," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-022, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  5. Michael Fritsch & Elisabeth Bublitz & Alina Rusakova & Michael Wyrwich, 2012. "How Much of a Socialist Legacy? The Reemergence of Entrepreneurship in the East German Transformation to a Market Economy," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-042, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  6. Bauernschuster, Stefan & Falck, Oliver & Gold, Robert & Heblich, Stephan, 2012. "The shadows of the socialist past: Lack of self-reliance hinders entrepreneurship," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 485-497.

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