Legal rules and the economic environment play an important role in the decision to become an entrepreneur. Many studies examine the effect of such institutions at the national or state level. The metropolitan area may be a more appropriate geography to examine, since entrepreneurs often serve a more localized market and there is wide variation in both the environment for and incidence of proprietorship among metropolitan areas. We find that proprietorship increases with home equity, intangible wealth, unemployment, relative earnings of proprietors, and population. It decreases with higher state income tax rates and minimum wages.