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Environmental conditions and entrepreneurial activity: a regional comparison in Spain

Claudia Alvarez (Autonomous University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain and University of Medellín, Medellín, Colombia)
David Urbano (Autonomous University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain)
Alicia Coduras (Instituto de Empresa – Business School, Madrid, Spain)
José Ruiz‐Navarro (University of Cádiz, Cádiz, Spain)

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Article publication date: 22 February 2011




The main objective of this paper is to analyse the influence of environmental factors on entrepreneurship at the Spanish regional level, using institutional economics as the theoretical framework for the research. Additionally, this work aims to emphasize how environmental conditions have different effects according to the gender of entrepreneurs.


Regional panel data (19 Spanish regions and the 2006‐2009 period) from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), specifically from the Spanish National Expert Survey (NES) for environmental conditions and the GEM Adult Population Survey (APS) for entrepreneurial activity were analysed within a fixed effects model with panel corrected standard errors.


The main findings of the study indicate that both informal (cultural and social norms, perception of opportunities to start‐up and entrepreneur social image) and formal factors (intellectual property rights) influence entrepreneurship, but the informal are more determinant than the formal. Concerning the gender issues, informal and formal institutions are also determinant, but female entrepreneurship is significantly associated with the women's support to start‐up, whereas primary and higher education are associated only with male entrepreneurial activity.

Research limitations/implications

The results of the research should be interpreted carefully, because the availability of data constrained the analysis to a time period that is not reflective of the economic cycle; on the contrary, the data correspond to a period of recession, and thus the results cannot be generalized. Also, the study could extend the analysed period and compare the obtained results with international data, considering the global number of participant countries in the GEM Project.


The study provides a methodology to analyse the environmental factors for new firm creation at a regional level, combining GEM data and institutional economics.



Alvarez, C., Urbano, D., Coduras, A. and Ruiz‐Navarro, J. (2011), "Environmental conditions and entrepreneurial activity: a regional comparison in Spain", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 18 No. 1, pp. 120-140.



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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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