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The influence of perceptions on potential entrepreneurs

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Much research has tried to explain why some people, but not others, choose to become entrepreneurs. The cognitive approach provides a useful insight to explore the entrepreneur-related phenomena through perceptions and intentions. Cross-national studies of this kind are rare, since large international surveys are needed. In this sense, the GEM-project questionnaire includes some questions about entrepreneurial perceptions of the adult population. Thus, the main objective of this paper is building a theoretical framework of entrepreneurial perceptions and testing their influence on entrepreneurial intentions with GEM data. This may allow overcoming some of the weaknesses of previous studies in entrepreneurial intentions. Three kinds of perceptions are identified: individual perceptions, perceptions about entrepreneurial opportunities, and socio-cultural perceptions. Their effect on intentions is tested along with some control variables. Results confirm that these perceptions are relevant variables in explaining the entrepreneurial intention of individuals across nations. At the same time, results from this paper would contribute to the opening up of a new line of analysis using GEM-project data: the conception stage of the new venture process; that is, the study of potential entrepreneurs.

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    In this sense, Age Squared was initially included in the analysis, following the reasoning by Levesque and Minniti (2006). Results for the four regression models were in accordance with the theory (positive and significant coefficient for Age, negative significant coefficient for Age Squared). However, multicollinearity between both variables was present. Therefore, since the purpose of this study is not the analysis of the role of Age, and the values and significance levels of all other coefficients and odds-ratios were similar to those in Table 1, it was decided to include Age only as a control variable.


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Correspondence to Francisco Liñán.

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Liñán, F., Santos, F.J. & Fernández, J. The influence of perceptions on potential entrepreneurs. Int Entrep Manag J 7, 373 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11365-011-0199-7

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  • Entrepreneurship
  • Cognitive models
  • Perceptions
  • Entrepreneurial intention
  • Logit regression