Small Business Economics

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 27–56 | Cite as

Linking Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth

  • Sander Wennekers
  • Roy Thurik


In the 1980s stagflation and high unemployment caused a renewed interest in supply side economics and in factors determining economic growth. Simultaneously, the 1980s and 1990s have seen a reevaluation of the role of small firms and a renewed attention for entrepreneurship. The goal of this survey is to synthesize disparate strands of literature to link entrepreneurship to economic growth. This will be done by investigating the relationship between entrepreneurship and economic growth using elements of various fields: historical views on entrepreneurship, macro-economic growth theory, industrial economics (Porter's competitive advantage of nations), evolutionary economics, history of economic growth (rise and fall of nations) and the management literature on large corporate organizations. Understanding the role of entrepreneurship in the process of economic growth requires the decomposition of the concept of entrepreneurship. A first part of our synthesis is to contribute to the understanding of the dimensions involved, while paying attention to the level of analysis (individual, firm and aggregate level). A second part is to gain insight in the causal links between these entrepreneurial dimensions and economic growth. A third part is to make suggestions for future empirical research into the relationship between (dimensions of) entrepreneurship and economic growth.


Economic Growth Empirical Research Competitive Advantage Small Firm Industrial Organization 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sander Wennekers
    • 1
  • Roy Thurik
    • 1
  1. 1.EIM Small Business Research and Consultancy, The Netherlands and Centre for Advanced Small Business Economics (CASBEC)Erasmus University of RotterdamThe Netherlands

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