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Post-Materialism as a Cultural Factor Influencing Entrepreneurial Activity across Nations


  • Roy Thurik
  • Lorraine Uhlaner
  • Jan Hutjes


The study of the determinants of entrepreneurship at the country level has been domi-nated by economic influences. The relative stability of differences in levels of entrepreneurship across countries suggests that other forces such as certain institutional and/or cultural factors are at play. The objective of this paper is to explore how post-materialism explains differences in entrepreneurial activity across countries. Entrepreneurial activity is defined as the percent of a country's population that is self-employed, using a broad definition that also includes CEOs of both unincorporated and legally incorporated establishments. The measure for post-materialism is based upon Inglehart's four-item post-materialism index. Because of the known interactions between economic and cultural factors found in previous research, a set of economic and cultural factors is included to provide a clearer picture of the independent role post-materialism plays in prediction of self-employment levels. In particular, education, life satisfaction, church attendance and political (left or right) extremism are used as control variables in our analyses using data of 14 OECD countries over in recent period. Findings confirm the significance of post-materialism in predicting self-employment even when controlling for economic and cultural factors. However, strong co-variation between post-materialism and other cultural factors makes it difficult to clearly discriminate between the effects.

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  • Roy Thurik & Lorraine Uhlaner & Jan Hutjes, 2002. "Post-Materialism as a Cultural Factor Influencing Entrepreneurial Activity across Nations," Scales Research Reports H200202, EIM Business and Policy Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:eim:papers:h200202

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Audretsch, David B, et al, 2002. "Impeded Industrial Restructuring: The Growth Penalty," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 81-97.
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    7. David B. Audretsch & A. Roy Thurik, 2000. "Capitalism and democracy in the 21st Century: from the managed to the entrepreneurial economy," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 17-34.
    8. Ingrid Verheul & Sander Wennekers & David Audretsch & Roy Thurik, 2001. "An Eclectic Theory of Entrepreneurship: Policies, Institutions and Culture," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 01-030/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    9. McGrath, Rita Gunther & MacMillan, Ian C. & Scheinberg, Sari, 1992. "Elitists, risk-takers, and rugged individualists? An exploratory analysis of cultural differences between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 115-135, March.
    10. Tiessen, James H., 1997. "Individualism, collectivism, and entrepreneurship: A framework for international comparative research," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 12(5), pages 367-384, September.
    11. Blum, U. & Dudley, L., 2001. "Religion and Economic Growth: Was Weber Right?," Cahiers de recherche 2001-05, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
    12. Wennekers, Sander & Thurik, Roy, 1999. "Linking Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 27-55, August.
    13. Blau, David M, 1987. "A Time-Series Analysis of Self-employment in the United State," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 445-467, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Diana M. Hechavarría & Siri A. Terjesen & Amy E. Ingram & Maija Renko & Rachida Justo & Amanda Elam, 2017. "Taking care of business: the impact of culture and gender on entrepreneurs’ blended value creation goals," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 48(1), pages 225-257, January.
    2. Lorraine Uhlaner & Roy Thurik, 2004. "Post-Materialism: A Cultural Factor Influencing Total Entrepreneurial Activ-ity Across Nations," Papers on Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy 2004-07, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy Group.
    3. Ingrid Verheul & Andre van Stel & Roy Thurik, 2004. "Explaining female and male entrepreneurship across 29 countries," Papers on Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy 2004-08, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy Group.
    4. Meltem Ince, 2009. "A Socio-Economic Perspective on Women Entrepreneurs: Evidence from Turkey," Economic Studies journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 4, pages 138-166.
    5. Ingrid Verheul & André Van Stel & Roy Thurik, 2006. "Explaining female and male entrepreneurship at the country level," Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(2), pages 151-183, March.
    6. Vinod, Hrishikesh D., 2006. "Should Asians demand both entrepreneurship and human rights?," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 14-28, February.
    7. Lorraine Uhlaner & Roy Thurik, 2007. "Postmaterialism influencing total entrepreneurial activity across nations," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 161-185, April.
    8. André van Stel & Roy Thurik & Sander Wennekers & Niels Noorderhaven, 2004. "The role of dissatisfaction and per capita income in explaining self-employment across 15 European countries," Scales Research Reports N200407, EIM Business and Policy Research.
    9. repec:rri:wpaper:200709 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Nada Kobeissi, 2010. "Gender factors and female entrepreneurship: International evidence and policy implications," Journal of International Entrepreneurship, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 1-35, March.
    11. Sander Wennekers & Roy Thurik & André Stel & Niels Noorderhaven, 2007. "Uncertainty avoidance and the rate of business ownership across 21 OECD countries, 1976–2004," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 133-160, April.
    12. Gebremeskel Gebremariam & Tesfa Gebremedhin & Peter Schaeffer, 2006. "An Empirical Analysis of County-Level Determinants of Small Business Growth and Poverty in Appalachia: A Spatial Simultaneous-Equations Approach," Working Papers Working Paper 2006-03, Regional Research Institute, West Virginia University.
    13. Farzana Chowdhury & David Audretsch, 2014. "Institution as looting apparatus: impact of gender equality and institutions on female entrepreneurship," Eurasian Business Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 4(2), pages 207-225, December.
    14. repec:rri:wpaper:200603 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Nabamita Dutta & Russell Sobel, 2016. "Does corruption ever help entrepreneurship?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 47(1), pages 179-199, June.
    16. repec:wsi:jdexxx:v:18:y:2013:i:02:n:s1084946713500143 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Gebremeskel Gebremariam & Tesfa Gebremedhin & Peter Schaeffer & Tim Phipps & Randall Jackson, 2007. "A Spatial Model of Regional Variations in Business Growth in Appalachian States," Working Papers Working Paper 2007-09, Regional Research Institute, West Virginia University.
    18. Noorderhaven, N. & Thurik, A.R. & Wennekers, A.R.M. & van Stel, A.J., 2003. "Self-Employment Across 15 European Countries:," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2003-081-ORG, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.

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    JEL classification:

    • L20 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - General
    • M - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries
    • P52 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Studies of Particular Economies
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics


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