Small Business Economics

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 151–155 | Cite as

A polymorphism associated with entrepreneurship: evidence from dopamine receptor candidate genes

  • Nicos Nicolaou
  • Scott Shane
  • Georgina Adi
  • Massimo Mangino
  • Juliette Harris


The tendency to be an entrepreneur may be influenced by genetic variation. Sensation seeking is more common among entrepreneurs than among the general population. Twin studies show that the tendency to be an entrepreneur is heritable and that common genes influence both sensation seeking and entrepreneurial tendency (Nicolaou et al. Manag Sci 54:167–179, 2008a; Strateg Entrep J 2:7–21, 2008b). Since dopamine receptor genes have been associated with novelty seeking/sensation seeking (Benjamin et al. Nat Genet 12:81–84, 1996; Ebstein et al. Nat Genet 12:78–80, 1996; Noblett and Coccaro Curr Psychiatry Rep 7:73–80, 2005), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been reported to occur at greater rates among entrepreneurs, we examined the association between five dopamine receptor genes and four ADHD-associated genes, with the tendency to be an entrepreneur in a sample of 1,335 individuals from the UK. We found a single nucleotide polymorphism (rs1486011) of the DRD3 gene on chromosome 3 to be significantly associated with the tendency to be an entrepreneur. This result is the first evidence of the association of a specific gene with entrepreneurship. Further studies are needed to replicate this association.


Behavior genetics Entrepreneurship Sensation-seeking 

JEL Classifications



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicos Nicolaou
    • 1
  • Scott Shane
    • 2
  • Georgina Adi
    • 3
  • Massimo Mangino
    • 3
  • Juliette Harris
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Public and Business AdministrationUniversity of CyprusNicosiaCyprus
  2. 2.Weatherhead School of ManagementCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA
  3. 3.Department of Twin Research and Genetic EpidemiologyKing’s College LondonLondonUK

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