Understanding the Drivers of an ‘Entrepreneurial’ Economy : Lessons from Japan and the Netherlands
Globalization and an increasing importance of knowledge in the production process cause many developed countries to move from a more ‘managed’ to a more ‘entrepreneurial’ economy in recent decades. In the former type of economy, large and incumbent firms play a dominant role, exploiting economies of scale in a relatively certain economic environment. In the latter type, small and new firms play an increasingly important role, introducing new products and services in highly uncertain economic environments while quickly adapting to rapidly changing consumer preferences. The speed of adjustment in this transition process from a managed to an entrepreneurial economy varies by country. In this paper we investigate the differences between a more ‘managed’ economy, Japan, characterized by relatively low levels of entrepreneurial activity, and a more ‘entrepreneurial’ economy, the Netherlands. Building on earlier work by Hartog et al. (2010), who explain cross-country differences in three measures of entrepreneurial activity using five broad groups of explanatory variables, we apply a decomposition analysis to better understand the differences in entrepreneurial activity between Japan and the Netherlands. We find that, in spite of higher levels of entrepreneurial activity in the Netherlands, the institutional framework in the Netherlands is considerably less favourable to entrepreneurship, compared to Japan. On the other hand, cultural differences between the Netherlands and Japan explain a substantial part of the difference in entrepreneurship rates between the two countries.
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