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