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"Surfeiting, the appetite may sicken": Entrepreneurship and the happiness of nations

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  • Naudé, Wim

    () (UNU-MERIT/MGSoG, University of Maastricht, and Maastricht School of Management)

  • Amoros, José Ernesto

    () (School of Business and Economics, Universidad del Desarrollo, Santiago, Chile)

  • Cristi, Oscar

    () (School of Business and Economics, Universidad del Desarrollo, Santiago, Chile)

Abstract

We know that entrepreneurs - at least those driven by opportunities - can contribute to economic growth, productivity improvements and competitiveness in national economies.. But do they contribute to happiness on the country level? In other words, does the happiness of nations depend on its entrepreneurs? And what about happy nations - are they better places for entrepreneurs to start-up new businesses? In this paper we survey the literature on entrepreneurship and happiness, and use various data sources, including from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, to find tentative evidence of an inverse U-shape relationship between (opportunity) entrepreneurship and national happiness. We find little evidence that a nation's happiness drives early-stage entrepreneurial activity but we do find evidence that opportunity-motivated entrepreneurs in happier nations may be less concerned with high firm growth. Thus we conclude that opportunity-motivated entrepreneurship may contribute to a nation's happiness, but only up to a point. Not everybody should become entrepreneurs, and the happiness of a nation cannot be indefinitely increased by boosting the numbers of opportunity entrepreneurs.

Suggested Citation

  • Naudé, Wim & Amoros, José Ernesto & Cristi, Oscar, 2012. ""Surfeiting, the appetite may sicken": Entrepreneurship and the happiness of nations," MERIT Working Papers 013, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2012013
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Naudé, Wim & Amorós, José Ernesto & Cristi, Oscar, 2013. ""Romanticizing Penniless Entrepreneurs?" The Relationship between Start-Ups and Human Wellbeing across Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 7547, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Naudé, Wim, 2012. "Entrepreneurship and economic development: Theory, evidence and policy," MERIT Working Papers 027, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    3. Francesco Quatraro & Marco Vivarelli, 2015. "Drivers of Entrepreneurship and Post-entry Performance of Newborn Firms in Developing Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 30(2), pages 277-305.
    4. Quatraro, Francesco & Vivarelli, Marco, 2013. "Entrepreneurship In A Developing Country Context," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis LEI & BRICK - Laboratory of Economics of Innovation "Franco Momigliano", Bureau of Research in Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge, Collegio 201314, University of Turin.
    5. Larin, Alexander & Tarunina, Elena, 2015. "Entrepreneurial activity and economic development: The shape of the relationship," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 37(1), pages 3-26.
    6. Francesco Quatraro & Marco Vivarelli, 2013. "Entry and Post-Entry Dynamics in Developing Countries," GREDEG Working Papers 2013-20, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Happiness; entrepreneurship; self-employment; life and job satisfaction; development; subjective wellbeing; Global Entrepreneurship Monitor;

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups
    • O50 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - General

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