Human capital, institutions, and ambitious entrepreneurship during good times and two crises


Authors: Mircea Epure, Victor Martin-Sanchez, Sebastian Aparicio and David Urbano

Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal

We argue that the positive relationship between pro-market institutions and entrepreneurial growth aspirations is dampened for individuals with general human capital (higher education), but augmented for those with specific human capital (experience in the marketplace). However, during a crisis, the differential effect of pro-market institutions on growth aspirations manifests only for entrepreneurs with specific human capital, with stronger effects than in good economic times. We run our empirical analysis on a dataset of individual- and country-level characteristics during 2005–2020, thus exploiting variation from the Global Financial Crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. We confirm our predictions and show stronger results for early stage (compared to nascent) entrepreneurs, and potential complementarities between human capital types. Altogether, our work paves the way to institutional adaptive policymaking.

This paper originally appeared as Barcelona School of Economics Working Paper 1414