The Entrepreneurial Spirit and What the Law Can Do About it

55 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2007

See all articles by Amir N. Licht

Amir N. Licht

Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliyah - Radzyner School of Law; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

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Date Written: March 30, 2007


Inspired by Schumpeter's seminal depiction of the entrepreneur, this paper recasts this heroic portrait in a more rigorous theoretical framework, leveraging a model of individual value preferences by Schwartz. The entrepreneurial spirit, it is argued, consists of particular value preferences: most importantly high openness-to-change and also high self-enhancement. These hypotheses are consistent with extant empirical evidence. The upshot of this theory - especially when the stability of cultural value orientations is taken into account - is that individual propensities to engage in new venture creation may not be very susceptible to policy measures. Looking specifically at legal measures, this paper considers measures that could be narrowly targeted to promoting entrepreneurship by making entrepreneurs even more highly motivated than what they appear to be. Recent research indicates, however, that theoretical and empirical issues, which must be resolved before such measures could be employed with confidence, are intractable at this point.

Keywords: Entrepreneurship, economic theory, psychology, values, motivations, culture, law, regulation of entry, bankruptcy

JEL Classification: K00, L1, L2, M13, P1, Z1

Suggested Citation

Licht, Amir N., The Entrepreneurial Spirit and What the Law Can Do About it (March 30, 2007). Available at SSRN: or

Amir N. Licht (Contact Author)

Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliyah - Radzyner School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 167
Herzliya, 46150
972-9-952-7332 (Phone)
952-9-9513323 (Fax)

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

B-1050 Brussels
952-9-9513323 (Fax)

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