Small Business Economics

, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 3–25 | Cite as

Entrepreneurs’ human capital and growth aspirations: the moderating role of regional entrepreneurial culture

  • Joan-Lluís CapellerasEmail author
  • Ignacio Contin-Pilart
  • Martin Larraza-Kintana
  • Victor Martin-Sanchez


This paper investigates the impact of entrepreneurs’ human capital on their growth aspirations and the moderating role of regional entrepreneurial culture in this relationship. Based on human capital theory, we argue that growth aspirations will be higher for individuals with higher educational attainment and lower for those with prior entrepreneurial experience. Drawing on an institutional perspective, we also suggest that regional social acceptance of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial role models will positively moderate these effects. Using data that combines individual and province level information in Spain over the period 2008–2014, we find support for the differential effect of formal education and entrepreneurial experience. The results also show that both social approval of entrepreneurship and role models tend to increase the growth aspirations of experienced entrepreneurs, whereas aspirations of the more educated ones are only affected by the presence of role models. Implications from the findings are discussed.


Growth aspirations Early-stage entrepreneurship Human capital Regional entrepreneurial culture Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 



The authors thank Julio O. de Castro, Iñaki Peña, Alain Fayolle, John C. Dencker and Vera Rocha for their helpful comments and suggestions. We are grateful for useful feedback from seminar participants at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), USASBE 2014, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, VIII GEM Conference, DRUID Conference 2015, AOM 2015, and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. We appreciate the valuable comments from Associate Editor Martin Obschonka and two anonymous reviewers. The authors acknowledge financial support from projects ECO2013-46954-C3-1-R, ECO2013-46954-C3-2-R, ECO2013-48496-C4-2-R and ECO2013-48496-C4-4-R (Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation). We also thank the GEM project for its support to this research.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joan-Lluís Capelleras
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ignacio Contin-Pilart
    • 2
  • Martin Larraza-Kintana
    • 2
  • Victor Martin-Sanchez
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of BusinessUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès)Spain
  2. 2.Departamento de Gestión de Empresas, INARBEUniversidad Pública de NavarraPamplonaSpain
  3. 3.King’s Business SchoolKing’s College LondonLondonUK

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