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Entrepreneurial intentions in developing and developed countries

Tatiana Iakovleva (UiS Business School, University of Stavanger, Stavanger, Norway)
Lars Kolvereid (Bodø Graduate School of Business, University of Nordland, Bodø, Norway)
Ute Stephan (Institute of Work Psychology, School of Management, University of Sheffield, UK and Department of Managerial Economics, Strategy and Innovation, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 28 June 2011




This study proposes to use the Theory of Planned Behaviour to predict entrepreneurial intentions among students in five developing and nine developed countries. The purpose is to investigate whether entrepreneurial intention and its antecedents differ between developing and developed countries, and to test the theory in the two groups of countries.


A total of 2,225 students in 13 countries participated in this study by responding to a structured questionnaire in classrooms. Structural equation modelling was used to analyse the data.


The findings indicate that respondents from developing countries have stronger entrepreneurial intentions than those from developed countries. Moreover, the respondents from developing countries also score higher on the theory's antecedents of entrepreneurial intentions – attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioural control – than respondents from developed countries. The findings support the Theory of Planned Behaviour in both developing and developed countries.

Research limitations/implications

The findings strongly support the Theory of Planned Behaviour. The measure of subjective norms used, a multiple‐item index encompassing the views of other people and motivation to comply with these, seems to have advantages over other measures of this concept.

Practical implications

Developing countries need to focus on the development of institutions that can support entrepreneurial efforts. At the same time, developed economies may need to accept that entrepreneurial intentions are dependent on the dynamism of an economic environment and possibly on risk‐perceiving behaviours.


While multiple‐country studies on entrepreneurship in developing and developed countries have been called for, no previous study has compared entrepreneurial intentions between developing and developed countries. The inclusion of developing countries provides a unique quasi‐experimental setting in which to test the theory.



Iakovleva, T., Kolvereid, L. and Stephan, U. (2011), "Entrepreneurial intentions in developing and developed countries", Education + Training, Vol. 53 No. 5, pp. 353-370.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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