Abstract

Entrepreneurship, and specifically Schumpeterian entrepreneurship, has historically played a central role in development (Acs & Mueller, 2008). Its effects have primarily been linked to the process of industrialisation and economic growth (Schumpeter, 1934 & 1943 ; Solow, 1957 ; Penrose, 1959 ; Audretsch & Thurik, 2001). However, since the 1990s, policy-makers increasingly tend to emphasize the overarching importance of development (UNDP, 1990), defined as sets of capabilities that are enabled thanks to sets of resources (Sen, 1999). In this perspective, economic growth represents one of the important means to achieve the end of development, understood as well-being and freedoms.

This issue, in the current socio-economic context, is of general common interest to both developed and developing countries. Nonetheless, a stylized fact of developing countries is their large pool of micro and often informal enterprises, which seems to fail contributing to productivity and GDP growth. This idea is supported by La Porta & Schleifer (2008), who, using cross-country firm data analysis, find that informal micro-businesses - that provide for half of all economic activity - are relatively unproductive, and serve as a social security net keep[ing] millions of people alive, but disappearing over time”. Determining whether those enterprises contribute to overall development is therefore of central importance.

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