In this dissertation, I develop a definition and regional measure of entrepreneurship that will aid entrepreneurship research and economic development policy. My new indicators represent an improvement over current measures of entrepreneurship. The chief contribution of these new indicators is that they incorporate innovation, which others ignore. These indicators represent a significant contribution to the literature and can stimulate discussion among entrepreneurship scholars about how we conceptualize and measure entrepreneurship.
Chapter 1 motivates the need for a different regional measure of entrepreneurship. Chapter 2 posits a three-part definition of entrepreneurship, with roots in the work of early entrepreneurship scholars including Schumpeter, Knight, and Say. Chapter 3 assesses widely used measures of entrepreneurship and their relevance to the proposed definition. The lack of a clear definition and measure of entrepreneurship hinders the research informing entrepreneurial support policies (Bruyat and Pierre- Andre, 2000).
Chapter 4 develops new indicators of entrepreneurship that capture all three components of the proposed definition. The identification of innovative industries, industries with high level of skill, technology, patents, churn, and employment growth, using detailed NAICS (North American Industrial Classification System) industry data, represents an important contribution of this dissertation. By applying the innovative industries to single-unit employer establishment birth and self employment data, I create indicators that are available annually for all counties. Using the reduced-form model of entrepreneurship developed by Goetz and Rupasingha (2008), Chapter 5 assesses the determinants of the new entrepreneurship indicator. In Chapter 6, I use a growth model recently developed at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service (McGranahan, Wojan, and Lambert. 2009) to examine the relationship between my new indicator of entrepreneurship and economic growth. I find a positive and robust relationship between growth and my new indicator of entrepreneurship. Chapter 7 reviews the results and addresses policy-implications, problems, and future work.