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The Entrepreneurial League Table of German Regions 1895 and 2019


  • Michael Fritsch

    (Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany)

  • Maria Greve

    (Utrecht University, The Netherlands, and Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany)

  • Michael Wyrwich

    (University of Groningen, The Netherlands, and Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany)


We describe and analyze the long-term development of self-employment in German regions between 1895 and 2019. Based on rankings ("league tables") for the two years we identify those regions where the relative level of self-employment significantly increased ('leapfroggers'), and those where the level of self-employment as compared to other regions deteriorated ('plungers'). Germany is a particularly interesting case due to the turbulent history of the country over the 20th century that includes two lost World Wars, occupation by foreign armies, forty years of division into a capitalist and a socialist state, as well as reunification and shock transformation of the eastern part to a market economy. While there is some persistence of regional self-employment despite all the disruptive changes, we also find and discuss considerable changes of regional levels of entrepreneurial activity.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Fritsch & Maria Greve & Michael Wyrwich, 2024. "The Entrepreneurial League Table of German Regions 1895 and 2019," Jena Economics Research Papers 2024-001, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2024-001

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    Entrepreneurship; self-employment; regional dynamics;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe

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