Entrepreneurship, Culture, and the Epigenetic Revolution: A Research Note

Zoltan Acs*, Emma Lappi

*Corresponding author for this work

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We show how the type of alcohol consumed is related to the type of entrepreneurship present for economies in Europe. We differentiate between beer-, wine-, and spirit-drinking countries and distinguish between productive, unproductive, and destructive entrepreneurship. The underlying links do not emerge from drinking per se but rather the drinking habits and taste for beverage types capture deep cultural features and cultural similarities amongst the countries. Societies that prefer to drink beer are closer to each other culturally than those which prefer drinking wine or spirits. Therefore, the taste for alcohol type is merely an instrument in explaining cultural and institutional differences across entrepreneurship. Broadly speaking, beer-drinking countries are characterized by higher shares of productive entrepreneurship, wine-drinking countries with unproductive entrepreneurship, and spirit-drinking countries with destructive entrepreneurship. We discuss mechanisms in which the results are found and highlight a new research agenda, emphasizing the potential role of epigenetics.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSmall Business Economics
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1287-1307
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Entrepreneurship
  • Informal institutions
  • Culture
  • Europe
  • Epigenetics

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