Saturday, July 15, 2006

Aging Populations Shy Away From Entrepreneurship
[10 July 2006 - Babson College] Countries where aging populations are increasing faster than younger people may also see  a decline in entrepreneurial business activity according to new research from Babson College Professor Maria Minniti, Research Director of The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) which annually measures entrepreneurial activity worldwide. Minniti and colleague Moren Levesque, University of Waterloo, Canada, found that individuals select career paths according to the dynamic interplay of age, risk, and wealth.  Older workers in waged-labor have less incentive to start a new business because their current income is likely to increase over time with experience and seniority.  Younger workers are free to take risks….they can afford to wait for economic security, expect to live longer, and have fewer responsibilities -- family, mortgages, etc. -- to hold them down. Their research entitled, The Effect of Aging on Entrepreneurial Behavior, was published in the Journal of Business Venturing 2006. "The study," according to Minniti, “has important policy implications because it suggests that, unless things change, countries with aging populations—like most European countries—may expect a decline in entrepreneurial activity and possibly growth.” Minniti says that the United States has never experienced this problem because of its historical embrace of new immigrants.  “Immigrants tend to be younger and have more children to help build new businesses,” says Minniti.  “Obviously, our research can impact and contribute to the recent US debate on immigration.” ...


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