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The strength and persistence of entrepreneurial cultures in the twentieth century

James Foreman-Peck () and Peng Zhou ()

No 9009, Working Papers from Economic History Society

Abstract: "This paper tests the strength and persistence of cultural influences on entrepreneurship over the best part of a century. Comparison of marginal self-employment propensities of US immigrant groups in 1910 and 2000 suggests a number of stable customary stimuli, deduced from national origins. Consistent with the ‘cultural critique’, the English were persistently prone to less entrepreneurship than other US immigrant groups, once controls for entrepreneurship influences are included. The Dutch were about averagely entrepreneurial, not as precocious as might be expected if the predominant Protestant religion encouraged entrepreneurship. Conversely Weber’s identification of nineteenth century Catholic culture as inimical to economic development is not born out in the twentieth century by the sustained entrepreneurship of Cubans and Italians in the United States. The strongest entrepreneurial cultures were exhibited by those originating from the Middle East, Greece and Turkey, though from what cultures they came is not always clear. Overall the inference from these patterns is that entrepreneurial culture is not of major significance for economic development compared with institutional influences."

Keywords: "Entrepreneurship; Culture; Migration" (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D01 J15 J23 J61 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009-04
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