Analyses on Entrepreneurial Activity

The Geography of Entrepreneurial Activity and Regional Economic Development
Multilevel analyses for Dutch and European regions

The importance of entrepreneurship for economic development is practically undisputed among academics­ and policy makers. However, despite a growing number of academic studies researching the relevance of entrepreneurship, there is no clear-cut evidence on how entrepreneurship impacts economic development. This dissertation contributes to the debate by modelling and analysing two relevant characteristics of entrepreneurship in one conceptual framework. First, it is acknowledged that entrepreneurship is primarily a regional event. Most entrepreneurs set up their businesses­ in their home region. Also, the empirical literature clearly­ documents spatial unevenness in entrepreneurial activity and finds that the degree of urbanisation is an important predictor for this regional variety.  Second, entrepreneurship consists of a heterogeneous set of different types and phases of entrepreneurial activities. The structure of these types and phases differ extensively across regions.

Recognising the need to integrate regions and individuals in the analysis, this dissertation documents the geography of entrepreneurial activity for Europe, explains observed spatial differences and links these to economic development. Multilevel analyses are conducted to account for national, regio­nal and individual effects using a rich dataset from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM). The analysis is complemented by zooming in on Dutch regions using both similar and different databases. The main findings are that characteristics of inhabitants are paramount for explaining regional differences in entrepreneurial activity. Urbanisation effects are particularly important for explaining growth oriented types of entrepreneurial activity and for linking these to economic development. In addition, regional perceptions to entrepreneurship and national institutions relating to employment protection matter for the occurrence of growth oriented entrepreneurial activity.

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