The Journal of Technology Transfer

, Volume 41, Issue 6, pp 1260–1283 | Cite as

Country level efficiency and national systems of entrepreneurship: a data envelopment analysis approach

  • Esteban LafuenteEmail author
  • László Szerb
  • Zoltan J. Acs


This paper tests the efficiency hypothesis of the knowledge spillover theory of entrepreneurship. Using a comprehensive database for 63 countries for 2012, we employ data envelopment analysis to directly test how countries capitalize on their available entrepreneurial resources. Results support the efficiency hypothesis of knowledge spillover entrepreneurship. We find that innovation-driven economies make a more efficient use of their resources, and that the accumulation of market potential by existing incumbent businesses explains country-level inefficiency. Regardless of the stage of development, knowledge formation is a response to market opportunities and a healthy national system of entrepreneurship is associated with knowledge spillovers that are a prerequisite for higher levels of efficiency. Public policies promoting economic growth should consider national systems of entrepreneurship as a critical priority, so that entrepreneurs can effectively allocate resources in the economy.


Knowledge spillover theory GEDI GEM Efficiency Data envelopment analysis Clusters 

JEL Classification

C4 O10 L26 M13 



László Szerb benefited from the financial support of the European Union (TÁMOP Project: No. 4.2.2 A–11/1/KONV-2012-0058). Esteban Lafuente acknowledges financial support by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (ECO2013-48496-C4-4-R).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ManagementUniversitat Politècnica de Catalunya (Barcelona Tech)BarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Faculty of Business and EconomicsUniversity of PécsPécsHungary
  3. 3.Department of ManagementLondon School of Economics and Political ScienceLondonUK

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