Americans Should Look to China for Cultural Affinity on Entrepeneurship

The June 2011 issue of the American Enterprise Institute’s newletter Political Report has a number of interesting items, but one really caught my eye: Americans and Chinese view entrepreneurship more positively their their European peers–by a long shot. Americans report a greater willingness to take risk than either Chinese or Europeans, but Chinese and Americans are about twice a likely to report having started a business or taking steps to start one than Europeans (about 40 percent to 22 percent). Half of Europeans agree that someone shouldn’t start a business if there is a risk of failure compared to about 25 percent for Chinese and Americans. In addition, both Americans and Chinese report that their schooling has planted the seeds for entrepreneurship by helping them develop a sense of initiative or stimulated their interest in entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship appears to be fundamental to the economic cultural identities of both Chinese and Americans while Europeans appear more culturally attuned to less innovative, creative, and more stable social and economic institutions.

Samuel R. Staley, Ph.D. is a senior research fellow at Reason Foundation and managing director of the DeVoe L. Moore Center at Florida State University in Tallahassee where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in urban planning, regulation, and urban economics. Prior to joining Florida State, Staley was director of urban growth and land-use policy for Reason Foundation where he helped establish its urban policy program in 1997.