Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Chrisman, James J.

Committee Member

Pearson, Allison W.

Committee Member

Kellermanns, Franz W.

Committee Member

Lueg, Jason

Committee Member

Taylor, Stephen

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Business and Industry


Department of Management and Information Systems


America is a nation where a strong entrepreneurial culture establishes favorable conditions that create approximately 600,000 new firms per year (SBA Office of Advocacy, 2006). Individuals? decisions to pursue entrepreneurship are influenced by environmental conditions such as demographics, economic factors, and prior entrepreneurial activity in their communities (Minnitti & Bygrave, 1999). Proponents of the endogenous growth model (Lucas, 1988; Romer, 1986) indicate that the notion of knowledge spillovers and investment in human capital lead to the formation of new businesses that improve the economic development and growth of a region. The purpose of this dissertation is twofold. First, a conceptual model that comprises determinants and consequences of new venture creation in a region is derived from the framework developed by Minnitti and Bygrave (1999) and Bygrave and Minnitti (2000) and theories of economic development and growth. Second, using a sample of 2,300 U.S. counties, empirical tests are conducted on a set of hypotheses derived from the conceptual model. Results support eight hypotheses: (a) net migration, population change by natural increase, skilled labor, level of infrastructure, and prior entrepreneurship activity positive influences new venture creation; (b) new venture creation positive influences economic development and economic growth; and (c) new venture creation mediates the relationship between prior entrepreneurship activity and economic development. Further support is obtained on indicators of demographic composition and economic factors to exert effects on economic development and economic growth. Also new venture creation partial mediates the relationship between (a) indicators of demographic composition and economic factors and (b) economic development and economic growth. This study contributes to knowledge by empirically testing an existing framework of entrepreneurship as well as assessing how new venture creation improves the economic development and growth in America?s counties. Particularly, the study finds environmental determinants to foster new venture creation and confirms the contention that new venture creation contributes to improve the economic conditions of a region. Recommendations for future theoretical and empirical research as well as practical implications for entrepreneurs and policymakers are also discussed.