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Self-Employment after Socialism: Intergenerational Links, Entrepreneurial Values, and Human Capital


  • Michael Fritsch

    () (School of Economics and Business Administration, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena)

  • Alina Rusakova

    () (School of Economics and Business Administration, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena)


Drawing on representative household data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, we examine the role of an early precursor of entrepreneurial development - parental role models - for the individual decision to become self-employed in the post-unified Germany. The findings suggest that the socialist regime significantly damaged this mechanism of an intergenerational transmission of entrepreneurial attitudes among East Germans with a tertiary degree that have experienced a particularly strong ideological indoctrination. However, we find a significant and positive relationship between the presence of a parental role model and the decision to become self-employed for less-educated people. For West Germans the positive relationship holds irrespective of the level of education.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Fritsch & Alina Rusakova, 2012. "Self-Employment after Socialism: Intergenerational Links, Entrepreneurial Values, and Human Capital," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-022, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2012-022

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Michael Fritsch & Alexander S. Kritikos & Alina Rusakova, 2012. "Who Starts a Business and Who Is Self-Employed in Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1184, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    2. Michael Fritsch, 2004. "Entrepreneurship, entry and performance of new business compared in two growth regimes: East and West Germany," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 14(5), pages 525-542, December.
    3. Michael Wyrwich, 2012. "Regional Entrepreneurial Heritage in a Socialist and a Postsocialist Economy," Economic Geography, Clark University, vol. 88(4), pages 423-445, October.
    4. Hall, John & Ludwig, Udo, 1995. "German Unification and the 'Market Adoption' Hypothesis," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(4), pages 491-507, August.
    5. Jennifer Hunt, 2006. "Staunching Emigration from East Germany: Age and the Determinants of Migration," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(5), pages 1014-1037, September.
    6. Marco Caliendo & Frank Fossen & Alexander Kritikos, 2009. "Risk attitudes of nascent entrepreneurs–new evidence from an experimentally validated survey," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 153-167, February.
    7. Michael C. Burda & Jennifer Hunt, 2001. "From Reunification to Economic Integration: Productivity and the Labor Market in Eastern Germany," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(2), pages 1-92.
    8. Stefan Bauernschuster & Oliver Falck & Robert Gold & Stephan Heblich, 2009. "The Shadows of the Past - How Implicit Institutions Influence Entrepreneurship," Jena Economic Research Papers 2009-044, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    9. Alexander S. Kritikos, 2011. "Gründungszuschuss: ein erfolgreiches Instrument steht zur Disposition," DIW Wochenbericht, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 78(45), pages 16-21.
    10. Michael Wyrwich, 2010. "Regional Entrepreneurial Heritage in a Socialist and a Post-Socialist Economy," DRUID Working Papers 10-20, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
    11. Laspita, Stavroula & Breugst, Nicola & Heblich, Stephan & Patzelt, Holger, 2012. "Intergenerational transmission of entrepreneurial intentions," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 414-435.
    12. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) – Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(1), pages 139-169.
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    Cited by:

    1. Necker, Sarah & Voskort, Andrea, 2014. "Politics and parents — Intergenerational transmission of values after a regime shift," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 177-194.
    2. Michael Wyrwich, 2015. "Entrepreneurship and the intergenerational transmission of values," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 191-213, June.
    3. Michael Wyrwich, 2013. "In the name of my parents: Entrepreneurship and the intergenerational transmission of values," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-031, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    4. Michael Fritsch & Elisabeth Bublitz & Alina Sorgner & Michael Wyrwich, 2014. "How much of a socialist legacy? The re-emergence of entrepreneurship in the East German transformation to a market economy," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 43(2), pages 427-446, August.
    5. Alina Sorgner & Michael Fritsch, 2013. "Occupational Choice and Self-Employment - Are They Related?," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-001, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.

    More about this item


    Entrepreneurship; parental role models; human capital;

    JEL classification:

    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles

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