Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > A Structural and Comparative Analysis of the Entrepreneurial Process
Available after 15 August, 2019

Research on the determinants of entrepreneurial entry and success have been dominated by individual-centered arguments. Explanations pertaining to structural forces that may condition the emergence and success of new entrepreneurs have been overlooked in this debate. This project fills this gap in the literature by exploring the structural dimensions of the entrepreneurial process and the interplay between structural forces and individual characteristics, and potential consequences of this link between micro and macro processes for who gets to become involved in entrepreneurship and achieve entrepreneurial success. To this end, this project develops a theoretical framework linking macro- and micro-level forces with the entrepreneurial process. The empirical analysis evaluates this theoretical framework, using indicators of early-stage entrepreneurial activities, business ownership and macro-level forces across a large range of developed and less developed economies. Results from mixed-effects logistic regressions demonstrate the importance of structural forces for the likelihood that individuals would become involved in trying to start a business and eventually become business owners. First, results show that in societies where beliefs that men make better leaders and that men have more right to employment are strong, women are less likely than men to become involved in starting a new business. Second, findings demonstrate that societal-level economic inequality increases the likelihood that individuals would become engaged in starting a new business and become business owners. However, the result also show that societal-level economic inequality increases entrepreneurship at low levels of economic development, whereas it decreases entrepreneurship at high levels of economic development. Third, the findings show that the way that individual characteristics, such as educational attainment and income, influence the entrepreneurial process varies significantly across countries. The analysis also demonstrates that societal-level economic inequality accounts for substantial portions of the cross-national variations in the effects of individuals’ educational attainment and income on the likelihood of becoming engaged in entrepreneurial efforts and eventually becoming business owners. In conclusion, this analysis demonstrates that structural forces matter for who gets to participate and to what extent in the entrepreneurial process. The importance of structural forces for the entrepreneurial process is independent of potential entrepreneurs’ personal characteristics.