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This paper aims to identify the specific contextual constraints that women might face in becoming entrepreneurs; to correlate these constraints with the motivations that…
This paper aims to identify the specific contextual constraints that women might face in becoming entrepreneurs; to correlate these constraints with the motivations that have determined this choice; and to ascertain how strongly constraints and motivations are correlated with individual rewards in terms of personal satisfaction and economic payoffs.
The empirical base is a survey that the authors conducted among female entrepreneurs in a Southern province of Italy in 2012. Data are analyzed through a correspondence and cluster analysis. The socio-economic context of the province within which these female-led firms operate is taken into account by means of a correspondence canonical analysis.
In terms of results: first, two-thirds of female entrepreneurs in the province are positively motivated, and this is a determining factor in their choice to become entrepreneurs. This translates into they also being satisfied with the choice they made. Second, contrary to the expectations, being positively motivated and satisfied holds both for firms operating in more dynamic and demanding sectors and for small firms using little financial or human capital.
The chosen research approach has allowed to identify the most important decisional variables that affect female entrepreneurial choice. However, as most of the variables are categorical, the research’s results remain descriptive.
Positive motivations and personal rewards are clearly relevant for women making an entrepreneurial choice. However, they are not enough to stimulate fully the potential for growth of their enterprises: education and a social environment conducive to female creative expression are also necessary. To this end, the authors suggest that an important function of change could be played in particular by universities by fostering a culture of creativity and entrepreneurship.
By stressing the connections between positive motivations and wellbeing, the authors suggest that the promotion of women’s entrepreneurial choices through networks and education generates more than purely economic benefits. It also has positive effects on their quality of life and on social welfare as well.
This paper responds to a need – not yet fulfilled in the literature – to better understand the relations between women’s motivation, satisfaction and the type of business selected.
The theory of consumer choice fills the opening chapters of any micro-economics textbook. Yet, surprisingly, this position of privilege has not translated into a flourishing of economic research that is comparable to what has happened in other branches of economic reasoning.
Albert Hirschman always distinguished himself by his unique approach in tackling economic problems, an approach that moved easily from literature and philosophy to political economy and social psychology, without ever losing sight of the real workings of social and political life.
The papers collected here stemmed from a desire to know more closely this rare economist who used the tools and features of one discipline to throw light upon those of another.
The methodological stance is the first element that emerges either explicitly or implicitly from this collection of papers: Hirschman’s suspicion of all-encompassing theories and their issue in encompassing plans – development plans in particular. His was a piecemeal approach targeting the scarcest of all factors, such as the ability to mobilize resources and to solve problems. This matched Hirschman’s own view that “petites idées,” to look at problems in the small, form the material for further observations and insights.
The second element that emerges from these papers is the richness of themes explored – from how to voice reasons for one’s disappointment and distrust to the role of countervailing passions in institutional development, from the “bias for hope” to the problem of inequality – but also the strong connections that exist among them. These connections revolve around the problem of economic change and its dynamics: how to explain it, how to promote it.
Yet, no matter which of Hirschman’s works we pick up for the first time or rediscover, we cannot avoid seeing that besides the scientist with his microscopic lenses, there is also the artist who looks at problems not for the final truth they might hide or the definite solution, but to make us aware of them, to open our eyes to curiosity and wonder. This is a difficult lesson, but not one Hirschman will let us forget.
One of the many paradoxes of fashions is that consumers’ choices change rapidly and with an astonishing degree of synchronization. What is successful or socially…
One of the many paradoxes of fashions is that consumers’ choices change rapidly and with an astonishing degree of synchronization. What is successful or socially acceptable in one period is considered the opposite in the next. This paradox has brought economists and other social scientists to conceive of fashions and fads as one of many forms of irrational behavior. Herd behavior and weakness of will, a desire to conform or, conversely, to distinguish oneself, have all been invoked to explain the rapid evolution of modes of behavior that emerge and more or less suddenly disappear. In this paper we try to show that fashions, even if fragile and transient, might nonetheless be rational. It is a rationality, however, that has to include something overlooked in most economic writing: the desire for novelty and variety. In fashions this desire takes the form of coordinated behavior that both facilitates consumption and destroys its novel content, thus paving the way for new fashions to appear.
In his essay Against Parsimony (1985), Hirschman argued in favor of “complicating” economic theory. This paper focuses on two of the economic phenomena that, according to…
In his essay Against Parsimony (1985), Hirschman argued in favor of “complicating” economic theory. This paper focuses on two of the economic phenomena that, according to Hirschman, are in need of greater complexity.
The first refers to the process of preference formation: a change in tastes that is preceded by the formation of meta-preferences is in fact, for Hirschman, a change in values. These autonomous, reflective kinds of changes, as opposed to non-reflective kinds, do not take place simply in response to price changes. Contrary to the standard economic assumption, de valoribus est disputandum.
The second phenomenon refers to the existence of non-instrumental actions. Striving for truth, love, beauty, justice, and liberty has non-calculable outcomes. According to instrumental reasoning such actions are “a mystery.” Moreover they are often painful to achieve. Why then are they pursued?
According to Hirschman, changes in choice behavior implying changes in values are the expression of a conflict between meta-preferences and preferences, and this, in its turn, is the result of disappointment. If disappointment is with private consumption, social and public commitments can provide alternative values; if, vice versa, disappointment is with public action, private concerns might provide the prevailing values. In discussing these points, I shall show that there are other sources of conflict, besides disappointment, that have both a cognitive and affective dimension and whose effects on preferences might result in altered choices.
The consensus view is that economists should observe consumer choices and abstain from investigating the psychological and physiological causes of wants, or the mechanisms…
The consensus view is that economists should observe consumer choices and abstain from investigating the psychological and physiological causes of wants, or the mechanisms governing the formation of preferences. This may be a correct procedure as far as ordinary functional goods are concerned. Problems tend to arise with creative goods (e.g. cultural goods) whose consumption (i) requires skills acquired through education and experience and (ii) generates positive and negative feedbacks and learning-by-consuming processes. This paper presents a simple model of local learning explaining the idiosyncratic accumulation of consumption human capital. Consumption generates local feedback mechanisms whose characteristics depend on the nature of goods and on the type of agent. The model provides some insights on the microeconomics of creative consumption and on the specific role of education.
The sole purpose of this simple paper is to present the idea that theorists of consumption, orthodox or otherwise, might do well to focus their attention on the use of…
The sole purpose of this simple paper is to present the idea that theorists of consumption, orthodox or otherwise, might do well to focus their attention on the use of time. ‘Economics is at bottom the study of how humans spend their lifetimes’ (Georgescu-Roegen, 1983, p. lxxxv), after all, and it thus makes sense to place time-use at centre-stage and to make sure that it is considered explicitly within consumer theory. Such an emphasis, it will be urged, enables the economic theorist to connect more easily both with certain other social-scientific and philosophical concerns and with many everyday common-sense concerns. ‘What shall I do?’, for example, is both a more frequent and a deeper question than, ‘What shall I buy/consume?’ (‘What ought I to be?’ is no doubt a still deeper – but less frequent! – question but is too difficult to be considered here.)
A number of papers have empirically investigated the demand for cinema by applying the rational addiction model proposed by Becker and Murphy (1988). However, they fail to…
A number of papers have empirically investigated the demand for cinema by applying the rational addiction model proposed by Becker and Murphy (1988). However, they fail to take account of the relationship between movie and television consumption. The purpose of this paper is to extend previous works on cinema demand by including both cinema and television movie consumption. To this aim a panel-data generalized method of moments (GMM) methodology is used to estimate a dynamic model of double rational addiction as proposed by Bask and Melkersson (2004) using a sample of monthly time- and cross-sectional series covering the 20 Italian regions over the period 2000–2002.