Entrepreneurship and growth: what causes what?

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14 January 2014

Purpose – The purpose of this chapter is to investigate empirically whether entrepreneurship causes growth or whether growth creates a prosper environment for entrepreneurship. Design/methodology – We perform a co-integration analysis using an error correction model on data from 34 countries spanning 13 years to assess the causality issue between growth (proxied by GDP per capita) and entrepreneurship (proxied by self-employment). Our analysis also includes other variables deemed to influence growth. Findings – The results from an error correction model show that self-employment Granger causes GDP per capita while the opposite direction is not statistically accepted. Moreover, these results suggest that increases in self-employment increase GDP per capita over the short-term but leads to a GDP per capita decrease at a long-term horizon. Research limitations and implications – We use a linear model to estimate the relationship between self-employment and Growth. Consequently, a more complex model allowing for nonlinearities and additional variables might be more accurate. The empirical investigation is limited to self-employment, which is one facet of entrepreneurship, hence it will be interesting to introduce other measures of entrepreneurship. A direct implication of our study is that rather to be a sustainable economic driver, self-employment seems to resolve only a short-term problem. Value – The chapter contributes by analyzing the relationship between self-employment and growth by using a co-integration analysis. Consequently it offers a more rigorous appreciation of the direction of causality as well as the long- vs. short-term relationships.