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Age, culture, and self-employment motivation


  • Tommaso Minola
  • Giuseppe Criaco
  • Martin Obschonka



To study the interplay between age and culture as driver of self-employment motivation, we examine cross-sectional age differences (young to late adulthood) in self-employment desirability and feasibility beliefs across different cultures. We utilize individual-level data from the 2012 Flash Eurobarometer survey collected in 21 countries (total N = 13,963 individuals) and culture-level data from the GLOBE project. Our results from multi-level regression analyses show similar curvilinear lifespan patterns in both desirability and feasibility beliefs, with a peak in young adulthood and a strong decline toward late adulthood. This general pattern of age differences in these motivational factors, however, differs significantly across cultural dimensions of uncertainty avoidance, institutional collectivism and performance orientation. Notwithstanding the limitations of cross-sectional data, the present results indicate that individual factors motivating self-employment are systematically intertwined with, and embedded in, both age and culture. Implications for theory and practice are discussed. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Suggested Citation

  • Tommaso Minola & Giuseppe Criaco & Martin Obschonka, 2016. "Age, culture, and self-employment motivation," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 46(2), pages 187-213, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:sbusec:v:46:y:2016:i:2:p:187-213
    DOI: 10.1007/s11187-015-9685-6

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:sbusec:v:49:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s11187-017-9860-z is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:kap:sbusec:v:49:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s11187-017-9854-x is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Kautonen, Teemu & Kibler, Ewald & Minniti, Maria, 2017. "Late-career entrepreneurship, income and quality of life," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 318-333.

    More about this item


    Age; Entrepreneurship; Culture; Self-employment motivation; Life-span; M13; L26; J24;

    JEL classification:

    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity


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