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The influence of tax and regulatory policies on entrepreneurs’ opportunity evaluation decisions

Matthew S. Wood (Baylor University)
Per Bylund (Oklahoma State University)
Steven Bradley (Baylor University, Waco, Texas, United States)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 20 June 2016




The purpose of this paper is to investigate effects of policy initiatives on entrepreneurs’ opportunity evaluation decisions.


Factors were selected from real world policy initiatives. The model pricing power as a traditional economic base rate attribute and then considering how variance in use fees and reporting requirements changes the base rate relationship. The factors served as decision attributes in a conjoint analysis experiment. A total of 126 entrepreneurs made 2,268 opportunity evaluation decisions.


While increases in pricing power result in a positive upward base rate opportunity evaluation, government mandated use fees and reporting requirements diminish the base rate toward the negative. This suggest that that even though the likely profits are much higher with the significant pricing power opportunity, entrepreneurs heavily discount these opportunities because they view the combination of economic costs of paying high use fees and the non-pecuniary costs of reporting requirements as unappealing. Further, the authors find entrepreneurs’ disproportionately discount higher margin opportunities when the regulatory burden is higher revealing the importance of policy factors in new product introduction decisions.

Practical implications

Policy has traditionally focussed on the macro-level effects of initiatives and how they directly affect issues like economic growth. This study reveals that this is only part of the equation because changes in government policy impact entrepreneurs’ opportunity evaluation decisions that underpin macro trends. In order to be effective, policy makers need to pay greater attention to not only the economic, but also the non-pecuniary costs that policy changes evoke. This is especially true for those policies like reporting requirements that may be perceived as threats to entrepreneurs’ sense of autonomy.


This research brings to the foreground the relationship between the policy environment and the cognitions and decision of individual entrepreneurs whose collective actions move the economy. The net effect is new insight regarding how policy factors coalesce to influence entrepreneurs’ assessments of opportunities, often in ways that negatively affect these assessments beyond what simple economic calculations would suggest.



The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support provided by Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship & Free Enterprise at Baylor University.


Wood, M.S., Bylund, P. and Bradley, S. (2016), "The influence of tax and regulatory policies on entrepreneurs’ opportunity evaluation decisions", Management Decision, Vol. 54 No. 5, pp. 1160-1182.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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