Entrepreneurs in Latin America

Abstract

This paper, by analyzing how narrow task-related personality traits relate to different entrepreneurial behavior in Latin America, contributes to the literature that is moving the focus from the big five personality traits to narrow traits, the literature that is searching for answers of how the environment mediates the relationship between traits and entrepreneurial behavior, and the literature that analyzes the differences among different types of entrepreneurs. We exploit a large and rich database that has individual-level information for nine Latin American countries and one USA city. The evidence indicates that there are some narrow personality traits that are positively associated with entrepreneurial behavior in Latin America, that this association is weaker for individuals who show weaker entrepreneurial behavior, and that the environment seems to be relevant to understanding the differences in the personality traits of Latin American and USA entrepreneurs.

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Fig. 1
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Notes

  1. 1.

    Even though meta-analysis is a relatively new methodology in social sciences, it has been the standard for more than 40 years in medicine and related sciences, increasingly displacing narrative reviews. Narrative reviews cannot provide the same type of quantitative evaluation of the literature that a meta-analysis generates, they cannot “correct” for studies that were not optimally designed and for moderator effects, and are less able to have an unbiased look at the data and detect small correlations as compared to meta-analysis (Hunter and Schmidt 2004).

  2. 2.

    Openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.

  3. 3.

    We will also include the multitasking characteristics which are available in our dataset.

  4. 4.

    Mischel (1968) is credited with triggering the personality versus situation debate. Gazzaniga and Heatherton (2006, p. 608), referring to this debate, points out that ‘‘one of the most important lessons of social psychology is that people consistently underestimate the power of situations in affecting human behavior”.

  5. 5.

    As Rauch (2014) points out “[o]ne might speculate whether favorable environments, which provide rich resources, many opportunities and market growth, allow the expression of personality traits and, as a consequence, whether there is a stronger relationship between personality characteristics and performance in favorable environments as compared to unfavorable environments”.

  6. 6.

    Even though we report a regression with interaction terms only for personality traits, we have also run a regression with interaction in all variables and the results with respect to personality traits are similar. This regression is available upon request.

  7. 7.

    A general version of the Haussmann specification test (i.e.: not considering the cluster structure) was performed, rejecting the hypothesis that the coefficients vary when excluding other categories, meaning that we are likely not violating the IIA assumption.

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Acknowledgments

The financial support of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for this research is gratefully acknowledged. We thank the comments and suggestions by anonymous reviewers and referees, and participants of the IDB’s research project workshop “Entrepreneurship in Latin America”. The usual disclaimer applies.

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Correspondence to Diego Aboal.

Appendix

Appendix

See Tables 13, 14 and 15.

Table 13 Correlation between personality traits, LATAM
Table 14 Descriptive statistics, LA
Table 15 Descriptive statistics, LA

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Aboal, D., Veneri, F. Entrepreneurs in Latin America. Small Bus Econ 46, 503–525 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11187-015-9696-3

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Keywords

  • Entrepreneurs
  • Personality traits
  • Environment
  • Latin America

JEL Classifications

  • L26