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National culture, entrepreneurship and economic development: different patterns across the European Union


  • Francisco Liñán


  • José Fernandez-Serrano



The aim of this paper is double. Firstly, it contributes to identifying the specific role of national culture as a variable that helps explain the level of economic development and reinforces the effect of entrepreneurship on the income level. Secondly, a deeper understanding of these relations in the case of the European Union is sought. In this study, data from two different sources have been used. The Schwartz Value Survey measures seven cultural orientations that are then grouped into three bipolar dimensions (embeddedness vs. autonomy, hierarchy vs. egalitarianism and mastery vs. harmony). The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor provides information regarding entrepreneurial activity. Using linear regression analysis, cultural and entrepreneurial variables are able to classify countries according to their development level, explaining over 60 % of the variance in Gross Domestic Product per capita. The role of culture is complex, with geographical elements being significantly relevant. In the case of Europe, some common elements conform what could be called “a European culture”: autonomy and egalitarianism clearly predominate over embeddedness and hierarchy, while harmony tends to prevail over mastery. Nevertheless, four well-defined groups of countries within the European Union emerge. Central and Northern Europe is closer to this European stereotypical culture, while English-speaking countries, Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean area exhibit their own differentiating elements each. These differences also exist with regard to entrepreneurial activity (overall Total Entrepreneurial Activity, necessity and opportunity-driven activity). Each of the four regional entrepreneurial cultures is characterized by a different entrepreneurial dynamics that may be plausibly explained by culture and income. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Francisco Liñán & José Fernandez-Serrano, 2014. "National culture, entrepreneurship and economic development: different patterns across the European Union," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 42(4), pages 685-701, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:sbusec:v:42:y:2014:i:4:p:685-701
    DOI: 10.1007/s11187-013-9520-x

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Urbano, David & Aparicio, Sebastian, 2016. "Entrepreneurship capital types and economic growth: International evidence," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 34-44.
    2. Monica C. Diochon & Alistair R. Anderson & Yogesh Ghore, 2017. "Microfranchise emergence and its impact on entrepreneurship," International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 553-574, June.
    3. Cai, Zhengyu & Winters, John V., 2017. "Self-employment differentials among foreign-born STEM and non-STEM workers," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 371-384.
    4. K. Parboteeah & Sascha Walter & Jörn Block, 2015. "When Does Christian Religion Matter for Entrepreneurial Activity? The Contingent Effect of a Country’s Investments into Knowledge," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 130(2), pages 447-465, August.
    5. David Urbano & Sebastian Aparicio & Victor Querol, 2016. "Social progress orientation and innovative entrepreneurship: an international analysis," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 26(5), pages 1033-1066, December.
    6. Ratan J. S. Dheer, 2017. "Cross-national differences in entrepreneurial activity: role of culture and institutional factors," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 48(4), pages 813-842, April.
    7. Aparicio, Sebastian & Urbano, David & Audretsch, David, 2016. "Institutional factors, opportunity entrepreneurship and economic growth: Panel data evidence," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 45-61.
    8. repec:kap:sbusec:v:49:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11187-017-9852-z is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Alecxandrina DEACONU & Ramona Stefania IGRET & Simona- Irina AGOSTON & Cristian MARINAS & Monica CODRUZ-BACESCU, 2014. "Entrepreneurial Initiatives versus Entrepreneurial Skills in South-Eastern Romania," REVISTA DE MANAGEMENT COMPARAT INTERNATIONAL/REVIEW OF INTERNATIONAL COMPARATIVE MANAGEMENT, Faculty of Management, Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania, vol. 15(3), pages 284-296, July.
    10. Diana M. Hechavarría, 2016. "The impact of culture on national prevalence rates of social and commercial entrepreneurship," International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 1025-1052, December.
    11. Paul, Justin & Shrivatava, Archana, 2016. "Do young managers in a developing country have stronger entrepreneurial intentions? Theory and debate," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 1197-1210.
    12. Christian Hundt & Rolf Sternberg, 2016. "Explaining new firm creation in Europe from a spatial and time perspective: A multilevel analysis based upon data of individuals, regions and countries," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 95(2), pages 223-257, June.

    More about this item


    Entrepreneurship; Cultural values; Economic development; European Union; A13; L26; R11; O52;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe


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