What Motivates Innovative Entrepreneurs? Evidence from a Global Field Experiment
52 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2019 Last revised: 29 May 2020
Date Written: January 28, 2020
Entrepreneurial motivation is important to the process of economic growth. However, evidence on the motivations of innovative entrepreneurs, and how those motivations differ across fundamental characteristics, remains scant. We conduct three interrelated field experiments with the MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge to study how innovative entrepreneurs respond to messages of money and social impact, and how this varies across gender and culture. We find consistent evidence that women and individuals located in more altruistic cultures are more motivated by social impact messages than money, while men and those in less altruistic cultures are more motivated by money than social impact. The estimates are not driven by differences in the type of company, its size, or other observable characteristics, but instead appear to come from differences in the underlying motivations of innovative entrepreneurs themselves.
Keywords: innovation, entrepreneurship, motivations, women, culture
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