"Institutions and Entrepreneurship"

Based on five research papers, the dissertation "Institutions and Entrepreneurship" analyzes institutional influences on entrepreneurship, as well as determinants and effects of institutional change. In particular, the effects of implicit institutions, i.e. societal norms and values, on the occupational choice of becoming an entrepreneur, are investigated. Using the German history of separation and reunification as quasi-natural experiment, the thesis finds that the East Germans' preference structure significantly differs from the preference structure of the West German control group, thus constituting an obstacle to entrepreneurship in East Germany. The thesis shows that these differences in the implicit institutions result from the Socialist Regime in the German Democratic Republic (GDR), and investigates various channels by which those institutions where formed. Particularly, the dissertation identifies the effects of education and schooling in the GDR on the formation of entrepreneurial preferences. Moreover, the thesis evaluates the effectiveness of several measures of entrepreneurship education at German universities. In a diff-in-diff framework, the analysis finds significant differences in the effects of the introduction of chairs for entrepreneurship, the participation in the publicly funded EXIST-program, and the simultaneous application of both measures, on students' attitude towards entrepreneurship as occupational alternative. Eventually, the dissertation takes a more general view on institutional change an identifies effects of the introduction of the Internet on voting behavior. Using a distance-based Instrumental Variables approach, the thesis shows that the introduction of the Internet significantly decreased voter turnout in Germany. However, it is rather the established parties that could benefit from the new medium, while small and particularly fringe parties tend to lose vote shares due to the introduction of the Internet.


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