Buddhist Entrepreneurs, Charitable Behaviors, and Social Entrepreneurship: Evidence from China
Small Business Economics 2021
Posted: 1 Dec 2021 Last revised: 21 Jan 2022
Date Written: September 25, 2021
To address the lacuna of how informal institutions like Buddhism impact social entrepreneurship in different regions within a nation, this research draws on the social entrepreneurship literature and the regional Buddhist research to propose a mediating framework where the percentage of Buddhist entrepreneurs in a region is positively associated both with the level of prosocial behaviors such as charity, due to the values of Buddhism, and with the probability of establishing businesses in a less-developed region. It further proposes that charitable behaviors mediate the relationship between the percentage of Buddhist entrepreneurs in a region and establishing businesses in less-developed regions. This mediating effect is attributed to the mechanism that charitable behaviors absorb the limited resources of entrepreneurs, reducing their resources for establishing businesses in less-developed regions. We test these hypotheses on nationwide surveys of founders of private enterprises and find support for this mediating view. Broad implications for theoretical and empirical research are discussed.
Keywords: Buddhism, Informal institution, Social entrepreneurship, Prosocial behaviors, China
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