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Who Are China's Entrepreneurs?


  • Djankov, Simeon
  • Qian, Yingyi
  • Roland, Gérard
  • Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina


Social scientists studying the determinants of entrepreneurship have emphasized three distinct perspectives: the role of institutions, the role of social networks and the role of personal characteristics. We conduct a survey from five large developing and transition economies to better understand entrepreneurship in view of these three perspectives. Using data from a pilot study with over 2,000 interviews in 7 cities across China, we find that controlling for institutional environment entrepreneurs in China are much more likely to have family members who are entrepreneurs as well as childhood friends who became entrepreneurs, suggesting that social environment plays an important role in entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs also differ strongly from non-entrepreneurs in their attitudes toward risks and their work-leisure preferences, echoing Schumpeter. Finally, failed entrepreneurs score the worst on aptitude tests, but have the best self-reported performance in school and perceive the business environment as least favourable.

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  • Djankov, Simeon & Qian, Yingyi & Roland, Gérard & Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 2006. "Who Are China's Entrepreneurs?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5706, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5706

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Frye, Timothy & Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 2000. "Rackets, Regulation, and the Rule of Law," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 478-502, October.
    2. Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "The Regulation of Entry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 1-37.
    3. Roland, Gerard & Verdier, Thierry, 2003. "Law enforcement and transition," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 669-685, August.
    4. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
    5. Simeon Djankov & Yingyi Qian & Gérard Roland & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2006. "Entrepreneurship in China and Russia Compared," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(2-3), pages 352-365, 04-05.
    6. Simon Johnson & John McMillan & Christopher Woodruff, 2002. "Property Rights and Finance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1335-1356, December.
    7. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Newman, Andrew F, 1993. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 274-298, April.
    8. Simeon Djankov & Edward Miguel & Yingyi Qian & Gérard Roland & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2005. "Who are Russia's Entrepreneurs?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 587-597, 04/05.
    9. Gérard Roland, 2004. "Transition and Economics: Politics, Markets, and Firms," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026268148x, January.
    10. repec:hrv:faseco:30747190 is not listed on IDEAS
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