Papers on Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy No. 4004
The present paper examines the relationship between entrepreneurship, as measured by the variation in business ownership rates, and unemployment in Portugal in the period from 1972-2002. It concludes that Portugal has been a relative outlier in regard to the effects of entrepreneurship on unemployment when compared with the OECD average. Although the nature of entrepreneurship may be different in the Portuguese case, due to a high proportion of "micro-businesses" created for subsistence which have little impact on growth and employment, this factor does not seem to be the primary reason for the observed discrepancies. The differences between observed levels of unemployment for Portugal and those predicted by a model based on OECD data seem to be mostly associated with macroeconomic fluctuations associated with European business cycles and EU "cohesion" funding, as well as with adjustment costs to new technology adoption which lead to productivity slowdowns, thus increasing the time lag for the effect of entrepreneurship on employment beyond the OECD average.