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Maria Giulia Pezzi and Félix Modrego

The entrepreneurial ecosystems (EE) framework proposes a holistic and systemic approach to the understanding of contextual conditions enabling entrepreneurship, particularly the growth-oriented one. From this perspective, a key element of a sound EE is a strong entrepreneurial culture, understood as a set of societal norms encouraging risk taking, experimentation and innovation, providing social status to the entrepreneur and rewarding individuals’ wealth creation, entrepreneurial hunger and drive. Based on these definitions, the EE framework largely constrains entrepreneurship to the creation of high-growth businesses, and culture to the set of socially established structures that influence the behavior of entrepreneurs with regard to such task. Starting from some critiques to the EE framework, this chapter reviews relevant insights from economic anthropology. We argue that this model can greatly benefit from a broader conceptualization of entrepreneurship as a dynamic, agency-based process of social change and culture as an enduring set of shared values and beliefs, distinguishing members of a social group, providing collective meaning, molding worldviews and thus shaping the whole social, institutional and economic setting in which entrepreneurship is embedded. From this review, we identify some entry points for an extended, anthropology-sensitive systemic approach to EE and some policy implications.

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Alessandra Faggian, Félix Modrego and Philip McCann

This chapter aims at showcasing to a broad audience how the concept of human capital can add to our understanding of regional economic growth and development. It begins with a review of the concept of human capital in mainstream economics. This is followed by a discussion of the regional aspects of the relationship between human capital and growth, focusing on the drivers and consequences of the interregional mobility of human capital. After that, the chapter elaborates on the key issue of the endogenous concentration of skilled human capital in cities and how this concentration is strongly associated with regional differences in productivity growth. It then focuses on the limitations of the traditional conceptualizations of human capital. The chapter concludes with a critical review of some of the remaining grey areas in our knowledge about the role of human capital for regional growth, drawing some implications for future research, policy and practice.