Fritsch, Michael Pylak, Korneliusz Wyrwich, Michael
Jena Economic Research Papers 2019-003
Persistence of entrepreneurship over longer periods of time could indicate a culture of entrepreneurship among the local population that may be an important factor for regional development, but does persistence of economic activity require cultural transmission? We exploit the diverse historical developments in the territory that is Poland today to analyze the level and the sources of persistence from the 1920s until today. Persistence is mainly found in those regions that were part of Germany before World War II. This persistence is noticeable despite the exchange of most of the pre-war population, ruling out that persistence is driven by transmission of culture. In most regions that were already part of Poland before World War II, the relationship between historical and current levels of entrepreneurship is not significant. Persistence of entrepreneurship is related to the historical success of regions, which we capture by the pre-war level of and self-employment in manufacturing industries, particularly in those that can be regarded as knowledge intensive. Our main conclusion is that persistence of entrepreneurship requires a certain level of successful economic development that we capture by the degree of industrialization in the early 20th century, but it does not necessarily require persistence of the local population.