We investigate how institutional change—the transition from a socialist system to a western type market economy—relates to the re-emergence of entrepreneurship in East Germany. This region is particularly well suited for such a study because of the rapid change of the institutional framework and the possibility to use West Germany as a benchmark. It took about 15 years until self-employment levels in East Germany reached those of West Germany. Despite this catch up, we find a number of peculiarities in East German self-employment that appear to be a continuing legacy of the socialist period. There is also a considerable correspondence of the regional levels of self-employment before, during and after the socialist period, suggesting the existence of a long-lasting regional entrepreneurship culture that can be regarded as an informal institution. This is in line with the hypothesis that informal institutions change much more slowly than formal institutions.
Small Business Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 26, 2014
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