Economic Freedom and the Motivation to Engage in Entrepreneurial Action


Jeffery S. McMullen, tel.: (254) 710-6197; e-mail:


Using institutional theory, the Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal 2003 Index of Economic Freedom, and the 2002 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, we regress opportunity-motivated entrepreneurial activity (OME) and necessity-motivated entrepreneurial activity (NME) on 10 factors of economic freedom and gross domestic product (GDP) per capita for 37 nations. We find that both OME and NME are negatively associated with GDP per capita and positively associated with labor freedom, but that various other factors of economic freedom are uniquely related to either OME or NME. Specifically, we find that OME, but not NME, is positively associated with property rights, while NME, but not OME, is positively associated with fiscal freedom and monetary freedom. Thus, governmental restrictions of economic freedom appear to impact entrepreneurial activity differently depending on the particular freedom restricted by government and the entrepreneur's motive for engaging in entrepreneurial action.