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Entrepreneurship development in Russia: is Russia a normal country? An empirical analysis

László Szerb (Department of Management Science, Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary)
William N. Trumbull (The Ciitadel – Baker School of Business, Charleston, South Carolina, USA)

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Article publication date: 23 April 2018

Issue publication date: 25 October 2018




Using various macro-level measures of economic and political performance Shleifer and Treisman (2005) and Treisman (2014) call Russia a “normal country” implying that Russia’s economic and political development is not deviating from the other middle-income or transition countries significantly. The purpose of this paper is to challenge this proposition and investigate whether Russia is a normal country in terms of entrepreneurship by comparing Russia with other post-socialist and similarly developed countries.


Many studies have examined Russia’s institutional setup to explain its deficiencies in entrepreneurial activity. However, there is a lack of comprehensive research taking into account both the individual and institutional dimensions of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The authors use the Global Entrepreneurship Index (GEI) methodology to analyze Russia’s quality-related individual as well as institutional features from a system perspective in a single model.


Russia’s performance has been poor relative to the post-socialist countries and to most of the former republics of the Soviet Union. Russia’s entrepreneurial profile is different from other transition and similarly developed non-transition countries, as well. Russia’s scores are less than the scores of other post-socialist countries in six out of the nine pillars of entrepreneurial attitudes and abilities. In sum, conditions supporting entrepreneurship in Russia lag seriously behind other post-socialist countries. Moreover, Russia’s individual scores are even lower than the institutional ones. Hence, improving the hostile environment alone would not be sufficient for entrepreneurship development.


Although, there have been numerous studies analyzing Russia’s macroeconomic conditions, institutional development, and entrepreneurship, there is lack of comprehensive studies. Besides common macro-level measures, the authors use a unique, GEI data set that combines institutional factors relating to entrepreneurship or new business creation with measures of individual capabilities, motivations, and attitudes about entrepreneurship. The single-model framework reveals that individual factors are even greater obstacles to entrepreneurship development in Russia than the institutional factors that most studies focus on.



László Szerb thanks OTKA-K-120289 titled as “Entrepreneurship and competitiveness in Hungary based on the GEM surveys 2017-2019” for providing support for this research program.


Szerb, L. and Trumbull, W.N. (2018), "Entrepreneurship development in Russia: is Russia a normal country? An empirical analysis", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 25 No. 6, pp. 902-929.



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