IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The effect of entrepreneurship on national economic growth: an analysis using the GEM database


  • Andre van Stel
  • Martin Carree
  • Roy Thurik



The increased importance of knowledge as a source of competitiveness for modern economies suggests that the organization of industries most conducive to innovative activity and unrestrained competition will be linked to higher growth rates. Entrepreneurial activity is generally assumed to be an important aspect of this organization. In the present paper we investigate whether a new and promising concept, Total Entrepreneurial Activity, influences GDP growth for 36 countries in a recent period. We will also test whether this influence depends upon the level of economic development measured as GDP per capita. With this test we aim to investigate to what extent the role of entrepreneurship has changed in the last decades of the 20th century. Although the limited number of observations does not allow for many competing explanatory variables, we will examine the role of the so-called Growth Competitiveness Index. This variable captures a range of alternative explanations for achieving sustained economic growth. In addition, we incorporate the initial level of economic development to correct for convergence. We find that entrepreneurial activity indeed affects economic growth, but that this effect depends upon the level of per capita income. This suggests that entrepreneurship plays a different role in countries in different stages of economic development.

Suggested Citation

  • Andre van Stel & Martin Carree & Roy Thurik, 2004. "The effect of entrepreneurship on national economic growth: an analysis using the GEM database," Papers on Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy 2004-34, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:esi:egpdis:2004-34

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bleaney, Michael & Nishiyama, Akira, 2002. "Explaining Growth: A Contest between Models," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 43-56, March.
    2. Peretto, Pietro F., 1999. "Industrial development, technological change, and long-run growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 389-417, August.
    3. Blanchflower, David G., 2000. "Self-employment in OECD countries," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(5), pages 471-505, September.
    4. David Audretsch & Max Keilbach, 2004. "Entrepreneurship Capital and Economic Performance," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(8), pages 949-959.
    5. André van Stel & Martin Carree, 2002. "Business ownership and sectoral growth," Scales Research Reports H200206, EIM Business and Policy Research.
    6. Huw Lloyd-Ellis & Dan Bernhardt, 2000. "Enterprise, Inequality and Economic Development," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(1), pages 147-168.
    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. Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1997. "I Just Ran Two Million Regressions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 178-183, May.
    9. Audretsch, David B & Feldman, Maryann P, 1996. "R&D Spillovers and the Geography of Innovation and Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 630-640, June.
    10. Glaeser, Edward L & Hedi D. Kallal & Jose A. Scheinkman & Andrei Shleifer, 1992. "Growth in Cities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(6), pages 1126-1152, December.
      • Edward L. Glaeser & Hedi D. Kallal & Jose A. Scheinkman & Andrei Shleifer, 1991. "Growth in Cities," NBER Working Papers 3787, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
      • Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Kallal, Hedi D. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Shleifer, Andrei, 1992. "Growth in Cities," Scholarly Articles 3451309, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    11. André van Stel, 2003. "COMPENDIA 2000.2: a harmonized data set of business ownership rates in 23 OECD countries," Scales Research Reports H200302, EIM Business and Policy Research.
    12. David Audretsch & Michael Fritsch, 2002. "Growth Regimes over Time and Space," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(2), pages 113-124.
    13. Roy Thurik, 2003. "Entrepreneurship and Unemployment in the UK," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 50(3), pages 264-290, August.
    14. Nickell, Stephen J, 1996. "Competition and Corporate Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(4), pages 724-746, August.
    15. Zoltan J Acs & Catherine Armington, 2003. "Endogenous Growth and Entrepreneurial Activity in Cities," Working Papers 03-02, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    16. Geroski, Paul A, 1989. "Entry, Innovation and Productivity Growth," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(4), pages 572-578, November.
    17. Granger, C W J, 1969. "Investigating Causal Relations by Econometric Models and Cross-Spectral Methods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 37(3), pages 424-438, July.
    18. Nickell, Stephen & Nicolitsas, Daphne & Dryden, Neil, 1997. "What makes firms perform well?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 783-796, April.
    19. Audretsch, David B & Stephan, Paula E, 1996. "Company-Scientist Locational Links: The Case of Biotechnology," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 641-652, June.
    20. Paul M. Romer, 1994. "The Origins of Endogenous Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 3-22, Winter.
    21. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. VAZQUEZ-ROZAS, Emilia & GOMES, Sofia & VIEIRA, Elvira, 2010. "Entrepreneurship And Economic Growth In Spanish And Portuguese Regions," Regional and Sectoral Economic Studies, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, vol. 10(2).
    2. Sun, Sizhong & Anwar, Sajid, 2015. "Electricity consumption, industrial production, and entrepreneurship in Singapore," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 70-78.
    3. Philip Auerswald, 2008. "Entrepreneurship in the Theory of the Firm," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 111-126, February.
    4. Çokgezen, Murat, 2011. "State owned enterprises, entrepreneurship and local development: A case from Turkey," MPRA Paper 27676, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Moga Tano Jilenga, 2017. "Social Enterprise and Economic Growth: A Theoretical Approach and Policy Recommendations," International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, Human Resource Management Academic Research Society, International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, vol. 7(1), pages 41-49, January.
    6. Bino Paul G.D, 2009. "India Labour Market Report 2008," Working Papers id:1943, eSocialSciences.
    7. Poh Wong & Yuen Ho & Erkko Autio, 2005. "Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Economic Growth: Evidence from GEM data," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 335-350, January.
    8. Emilia Vázquez & Sofia Gomes & Elvira Vieira, 2011. "Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth in Spanish and Portuguese Regions," ERSA conference papers ersa10p1537, European Regional Science Association.

    More about this item


    Entrepreneurship; economic growth; economic development;

    JEL classification:

    • L16 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Industrial Organization and Macroeconomics; Macroeconomic Industrial Structure
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:esi:egpdis:2004-34. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Kerstin Schück). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.