Investigating the impact of entrepreneurship on economic development: a regional analysis

This paper uses data on 125 countries to study whether entrepreneurship affects the level of economic development by taking a regional perspective. Specifically, the purpose of this paper is to investigate whether entrepreneurship leads to economic development by accounting for several other factors including the level of financial development, the business environment and governance and the quality of institutions. Design/methodology/approach – To investigate the impact of entrepreneurship on economic development, the paper uses data available from the World Bank Group Entrepreneurship Survey database. The data are augmented with variables from the World Development Indicators and various Doing Business Reports. These variables are used to capture for other factors that affect the level of economic development. Findings – The results indicate that economic development of the countries in the sample is affected by entrepreneurship even after controlling for regional variation. These results indicate that policy makers around the world need to put in place specific policies to promote the entrepreneurship culture among their population. Research limitations/implications – This paper uses a purely cross-sectional dimension to investigate the factors that impact on economic development with particular focus on entrepreneurship. This study uses cross-section data on various countries from different regions. However, panel data would allow the examination of causality issues and this could be a potential area of further research. Practical implications – Entrepreneurship is increasingly seen as a development-promoting tool and it is recognized that countries, which facilitate entrepreneurship, tend to have higher economic development. The main finding of this paper is that irrespective of the level of development of any country or the region that it is located in, countries would gain from encouraging entrepreneurship. Originality/value – The paper uses two broad proxies for entrepreneurship captured by the business density in each country and the number of newly formed limited firms. Interestingly, the paper also captures for regional variation to investigate if the relationship between economic development and entrepreneurship changes when different regions are being considered. The use of a merged data set is therefore a main contribution of this paper to the literature.

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