Entrepreneurship, Social Capital, and Institutions: Social and Commercial Entrepreneurship Across Nations


  • The authors acknowledge valuable comments from the editors, Zoltan Acs, Ruta Aidis, Errko Autio, John Earle, Susanna Khavul, Julia Korosteleva, Paul Reynolds, participants in presentations at George Mason University, the ISBE meeting in Sheffield, University of Tartu/Technical University of Tallinn seminar in Viinistu, and the special issue workshop at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver. Any remaining errors are our own. The paper uses data collected by the Global Entrepreneurship Research Association http://www.gemconsortium.org. The authors are listed in alphabetical order and contributed equally to the manuscript.

Please send correspondence to: Saul Estrin, e-mail: s.estrin@lse.ac.uk, to Tomasz Mickiewicz, e-mail: t.mickiewicz@aston.ac.uk, and to Ute Stephan, u.stephan@sheffield.ac.uk.


We model and test the relationship between social and commercial entrepreneurship drawing on social capital theory. We propose that the country prevalence rate of social entrepreneurship is an indicator of constructible nation-level social capital and enhances the likelihood of individual commercial entry. We further posit that both social and commercial entrepreneurial entry is facilitated by certain formal institutions, namely strong property rights and (low) government activism, albeit the latter impacts each of these types of entrepreneurship differently. We apply bivariate discrete choice multilevel modeling to population-representative samples in 47 countries and find support for these hypotheses.