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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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Paper provided by EIM Business and Policy Research in its series Scales Research Reports with number H200202.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 27 Aug 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:eim:papers:h200202
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  1. Teece, David J, 1993. "The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism: Perspectives on Alfred Chandler's Scale and Scope," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(1), pages 199-225, March.
  2. Blanchflower, David G., 2000. "Self-employment in OECD countries," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(5), pages 471-505, September.
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  4. Wennekers, Sander & Thurik, Roy, 1999. " Linking Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 27-55, August.
  5. Ulrich Blum & Leonard Dudley, 2001. "Religion and economic growth: was Weber right?," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 207-230, February.
  6. Audretsch, David B. & Carree, Martin A. & van Stel, André J. & Thurik, A. Roy, 2000. "Impeded industrial restructuring : the growth penalty," HWWA Discussion Papers 114, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA).
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  8. 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.
  9. BLUM, Ulrich & DUDLEY, Leonard, 2001. "Religion and Economic Growth: Was Weber Right?," Cahiers de recherche 2001-05, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  10. McGrath, Rita Gunther & MacMillan, Ian C., 1992. "More like each other than anyone else? A cross-cultural study of entrepreneurial perceptions," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 7(5), pages 419-429, September.
  11. Roy Thurik & Sander Wennekers & Ingrid Verheul & David Audretsch, 2001. "An eclectic theory of entrepreneurship: policies, institutions and culture," Scales Research Reports H200012, EIM Business and Policy Research.
  12. 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.
  13. Audretsch, David B, et al, 2002. "Impeded Industrial Restructuring: The Growth Penalty," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 81-97.
  14. Lee, Sang M. & Peterson, Suzanne J., 2000. "Culture, entrepreneurial orientation, and global competitiveness," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 401-416, January.
  15. 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.
  16. repec:dgr:uvatin:20000095 is not listed on IDEAS
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