TV and Local Entrepreneurship

For years, folks working in the field have talked about the importance of “entrepreneurial culture,” i.e. a community’s (hopefully welcoming) attitudes about entrepreneurs and their businesses.   This culture can evolve via many mechanisms—via youth entrepreneurship education, via role models, and via traditional media.  An interesting new German study looks at the importance of television in changing attitudes about entrepreneurship.   The paper examines entrepreneurship in the former East Germany at the time of German reunification in 1990. It finds that East German regions with early access to Western TV, and its positive depiction of entrepreneurship, had higher rates of business start-up than East German regions lacking access to Western TV. That’s an interesting, and perhaps unsurprising result. But, an even more interesting finding is these attitudes and trends persist, so that locations with early access to these new ideas continue to show higher entrepreneurship rates over subsequent generations too. I’m not sure if “Shark Tank” has the same effects, but who knows?