Working Paper No. 1049

Superentrepreneurship and Global Imbalances: Closing Europe's Gap to Other Industrialized Regions

Published: December 1, 2014, revised August 3, 2015Pages: 32Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Innovation; Institutions; Regulation; Self-employmentJEL-codes: L50; M13; O31; P14
Published version

Superentrepreneurship and Global Imbalances: Closing Europe's Gap to Other Industrialized Regions Magnus Henrekson and Tino Sanandaji


The overwhelming majority of self-employed individuals are not entrepreneurial in the Schumpeterian sense. To unmistakably identify Schumpeterian entrepreneurs, wefocus on self-made billionaires (in USD) from the Forbes Magazine list who became wealthy by founding new firms. In this way, we identify 996 billionaire entrepreneurs in over fifty countries during the
1996–2010 period. Interestingly, the rate of billionaire entrepreneurs per capita correlates negatively with self-employment rates.

Countries with higher incomes, higher trust, lower taxes, more venture capital investment and lower regulatory burdens have higher entrepreneurship rates but less self-employment. Europe has a higher self-employment rate than the United States and East Asia. At the same time, Europe has a lower entrepreneurship rate than competitor regions. Europe underperforms in entrepreneurship despite having advantages such as a skilled labour force, good infrastructure, large markets and strong performance in technological innovation.

Magnus Henrekson

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Interdisciplinary European Studies

The European Union in a Changing World Order

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This book explores how the European Union responds to the ongoing challenges to the liberal international order. These challenges arise both within the EU itself and beyond its borders, and put into question the values of free trade and liberal democracy. 

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