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How does the public and private university environment affect students’ entrepreneurial intention?

Mario Duarte Canever (Departamento de Ciências Sociais Agrárias, Universidade Federal de Pelotas, Pelotas, Brazil)
Maria Renata Martínez Barral (Faculdade de Economia, Universidade Federal de Pelotas, Pelotas, Brazil)
Felipe Garcia Ribeiro (Faculdade de Economia, Universidade Federal de Pelotas, Pelotas, Brazil)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 10 July 2017




The purpose of this paper is to explore the causal links between public and private university environments and the entrepreneurial intention (EI) of students.


The impact of different university environments on the students’ EI was checked using a model adapted from Krueger et al. (2000). The study comprised a sample of students enrolled in business administration from three public and three private universities at first semester (freshmen) and at the last two semesters (senior) in Brazil. The model was measured through various questions and later assessed by principal component analysis to build constructs. Via t-test and path analysis the EI and the antecedents were subjected to a comparative analysis to test the equality of the models across the four categories emerged.


The two main types of Brazilian university environments (public and private) do not present significant differences in the way they influence EI and its antecedents. Both the tests of means and the tests of measurement of the structural relations between constructs confirm this finding with only a few exceptions. The result of this study is opposed to other studies carried out in Brazil, by showing that the public university environment is not worse for the entrepreneurship than the private. The environmental effects are mostly equal and they as a whole are not conducive to the development of EI.

Research limitations/implications

The study comprises business students only, and enrolled on regular universities. It is worth highlighting that evidence was brought to the debate for a group of universities in Brazil. Replicating the study with students from other areas and other universities, as well as students in Master’s and Doctorate programs could enrich the analyses.

Practical implications

This study provides insight into entrepreneurship education, as to which the university environment is conducive to the entrepreneurship. It brings insights for the development of entrepreneurial universities.


This study contributes to understanding the differences between the public and private universities environment regarding students’ EI.



Canever, M.D., Barral, M.R.M. and Ribeiro, F.G. (2017), "How does the public and private university environment affect students’ entrepreneurial intention?", Education + Training, Vol. 59 No. 6, pp. 550-564.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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