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Contrasting Entrepreneurial Economic Development in Emerging Latin American Economies: Applications and Extensions of Resource-Based Theory


G. Page West III, tel.: 336-758-4260; e-mail:


Emerging economies face daunting economic development challenges. Economists and management consultants have generally suggested global solutions that typically focus solely on foreign direct investment. Yet a resource-based theory approach offers an alternative view of economic development in which a foundation of resources within a region gestates entrepreneurial activity. While theoretically appealing, it is unclear in application how such resources can be developed or which types of resources are most important to develop. This paper extends the application of resource-based theory to entrepreneurial economic development in subsistence economies. A qualitative study of contrasting entrepreneurial activity in Chiapas (Mexico) and Atenas (Costa Rica) highlights the primacy of intangible resources—and especially entrepreneurial orientation resources—in the gestation of entrepreneurial activity.