Confronting Economic Theory with Empirical Practice
Chapter 3: Willingness and Opportunity to Start Up as an Entrepreneur
The law of ‘survival of the ﬁttest’ states that those organisms tend to survive which are best ﬁtted to utilize the environment for their own purposes. Those that utilize the environment most, often turn out to be those that beneﬁt those around them most; but sometimes they are injurious. Conversely, the struggle for survival may fail to bring into existence organisms that would be highly beneﬁcial. (Marshall  1930, p. 242) Introduction Governments are by and large of the opinion that new ﬁrm formation is necessary for a healthy economy and that ‘natural’ entrepreneurship supply is insuﬃcient. As a result, governments started to provide encouragement programmes for self-employment, and studies to evaluate their eﬀectiveness became desirable. The objective of self-employment encouragement programmes is to stimulate potential successful entrepreneurs to switch to this occupational status, or to provide enthusiastic would-be entrepreneurs with an opportunity to become entrepreneur. In order to recruit programme participants eﬃciently, these categories of would-be entrepreneurs should be located. This calls for insight into the individual decision process. In this chapter, I shall distinguish between opportunity and willingness to become an entrepreneur. Individuals only become entrepreneurs when they are willing and have the opportunity to do so. This chapter aims at identifying individual determinants of both opportunity and willingness. Observing someone as being an entrepreneur implies that the individual has both been willing and had the opportunity to switch to this occupational status. If either willingness (motivation) or opportunity (ability and/or capital) is...
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