Social entrepreneurship and institutional context: a quantitative analysis

Student thesis: Doctoral thesis


Social entrepreneurship is increasingly recognized as a crucial element for the progress of societies. Consequently, both governments and researchers have shown particular interest in understanding this phenomenon. The main objective of this dissertation is to analyse the influence of institutions on social entrepreneurial activity using the institutional economics perspective as the theoretical framework. Thus, specifically, the current research: Exploring the trends in the social entrepreneurship literature (theoretical and methodological issues) with emphasis on institutional context (SO1); determining the influence of institutional context (formal and informal) on social entrepreneurial activity (SO2); and analysing the role of institutional context on two varieties of social entrepreneurship (by founder profile –female/male- and by enterprise’s purpose –social/commercial-) (SO3). The methodology used is quantitative and fundamentally based on data collected from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) and the World Value Survey (WVS). The current investigation provides evidences about the role of institutional factors that influence social entrepreneurial activity in Spain, as well as, in an international context. In this sense, the thesis also aims to counter the lack of quantitative research in the field, testing hypotheses by using statistical techniques such as logistic regression, hierarchical regression, ReLogit and panel data. The main findings of this dissertation reveal that informal institutional factors (e.g., beliefs and societal attitudes, risk-taking, perceptions of entrepreneurial skills, social image, post-materialism and role models) affect social entrepreneurial activity to a greater degree than formal institutions (e.g., regulations, laws or government policies) do. Likewise, these results support the importance of institutional factors to social entrepreneurial activity. Finally, from an academic perspective, the current research contributes to the literature by applying institutional economics as an appropriate conceptual framework for the analysis of the environmental conditions that foster or inhibit social entrepreneurial activity in different contexts. Thus, we propose institutional economic theory as a conceptual framework for studying this phenomenon which can further serve as a broad research agenda for the field. On the other hand, from a managerial and policy maker’s perspective, the research could be useful for the design of policies to support social entrepreneurship in different environments by considering the influence of institutions on the creation of new social initiatives.
Date of Award19 Dec 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)
SupervisorDavid Urbano Pulido (Director)

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