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Creating a Policy Environment for Entrepreneurs

This paper demonstrates that levels of entrepreneurship can be greatly affected by the general policy environment. Using a state-level panel, we estimate the effects of several policy variables on rates of entrepreneurship and find that bankruptcy exemptions, corporate tax rates, and the level of the minimum wage all affect a state's rate of entrepreneurship. For the median state, these policies reduced the level of entrepreneurship by 10.5 percent. Much of the geographic pattern of entrepreneurship can be explained by policy differences: The low-entrepreneurship states of the Great Lakes and the South tend to have relatively unfriendly policy environments, and the high-entrepreneurship states of the West tend to have relatively friendly policies. On the other hand, although New England states tend to have relatively unfriendly policy environments, they also tend to have high rates of entrepreneurship.

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