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Post materialist values and entrepreneurship: a multilevel approach

Carlos E. Morales (EADA Business School, Barcelona, Spain)
Claudia Holtschlag (University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain)

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

ISSN: 1355-2554

Article publication date: 3 May 2013




Postmaterialist values (autonomy, self‐expression, fulfilment of personal goals) have been shown to predict entrepreneurship at the country level. This paper aims to expand previous research by testing the relationship between postmaterialism and entrepreneurship at the individual level across 39 countries.


In a series of multilevel models, with individuals nested within countries, the paper tests whether individuals’ postmaterialist values predict the probability of becoming an entrepreneur after controlling for income level, age, gender and education level. To do this, Inglehart's 12‐item Postmaterialism‐index was used. Data was taken from the 1999‐2004 database of the World Value Survey on approximately forty‐five thousand subjects from 39 countries. Models with random intercepts and random slopes were calculated.


This paper presents evidence on three issues: postmaterialism decreases a person's likelihood of becoming an entrepreneur; the effect of postmaterialism on entrepreneurship varies across countries; and this effect is more negative in countries with high levels of entrepreneurship.

Practical implications

Theoretical: individuals with materialist values are more likely to be entrepreneurs than postmaterialist individuals. This finding provides support to the hypothesis that entrepreneurs are basically economically driven people. Practical: The efficacy of public policies to promote entrepreneurial activity could be overshadowed by more deeply‐rooted cultural orientations, postmaterialism in this case.


The relationship between postmaterialism and entrepreneurship has been studied previously using countries as the unit of analysis; this paper's main contribution is that it expands this line of research to the individual level of analysis.



Morales, C.E. and Holtschlag, C. (2013), "Post materialist values and entrepreneurship: a multilevel approach", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 19 No. 3, pp. 266-282.



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