Entrepreneurship and Modern Biology

Professor Roy Thurik, PhD

Professor of Economics and Entrepreneurship, Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Entrepreneurship is arguably the most important and scarcest input factor of modern economies. Entrepreneurs take personal risks to discover and seize opportunities. Doing so yields them private benefits while it also generates economic growth and jobs. Hence, it is essential to investigate the determinants of this productive type of risk taking. Traditionally, research on the determinants of entrepreneurship has focused on environmental effects, socio-demographics, preferences, cognitive processes and personality traits. The relevance of individual differences in preferences, cognition, and personality raises the question whether genetic variation is relevant in explaining entrepreneurship. Indeed, results from twin studies show that risk preferences, entrepreneurship and cognitive processes such as overconfidence are influenced by genetic variation. However, twin studies do not tell us about the specific genetic architecture at play. Some first results using GWAS will be presented.