Western States shows higher levels of entrepeuerial spirit, study finds

Alex Niver Raisch

Western States shows higher levels of entrepeuerial spirit than other regions throughout the country, according to a joint study between University of Jena in Germany and UT.

The study gauged 50,000 American citizens and 35,000 British and German citizens in an effort to pinpoint the location of each countries entrepreneurial spirit, or a region’s ability to create innovation.

The studies findings concluded that Southern states, such as Mississippi and Alabama, did not score highly in entrepreneurial spirit while more Western states ranked higher. Montana, New Mexico and Colorado ranked amoung the top ten.

Martin Obschonka, a co-researcher of the study said the study defines entrepreneurial spirit as higher level exhibiting extraversion, conscientiousness, openness, and low scores in agreeableness and neuroticism. 

Some the factors the study considers include magnitude and effectivenes of investments, availability of financial capital and higher start-up rates

“These people may be a ‘special type’ characterized by a specific set of personality features that together drive entrepreneurial behavior,” Obschonka said. 

Another character trait the study measured was creativity. Researcher Samuel Gosling, said creative people in general tend to do well in entrepreneurial situations. 

“It is necessary to be flexible and respond creatively to situations that have previously not been encountered,” Gosling said.

Obschonka said the research looks at the role of the region’s migration, specific values and societal norms.  

“Better understanding of these regional patterns and their development may inform public and economic policies,” Obschonka said.

Advertising senior Jacob Philpott said some states might under-value creativity.

“Specific regions in the U.S. may find it beneficial to pursue campaigns reinforcing the values found in the top states” Philpott said. “Perhaps a message that suggests creativity and doing things differently is at times better than just simply coloring within the lines.”  

Obschonka said implenmenting public policy that encourages entrepeneurship would increase a region’s spirit. 

“Such educational measures may be particularly fruitful – or needed – in those regions scoring lower in entrepreneurial personality,” Obschonka said.

While it may seem like lower ranked states are worse off because they have been deemed to have less entrepreneurial spirit, the regions may not be entrepeneurally driven, according to Obschonka.  

Obschonka said regional difference can stem from regional identity. where some area encourage personalities that exhibit or inhibit economic and business innovation.