Regional differences of people with an entrepreneurial personality structure in Germany – An overview


  • Michael Fritsch Lehrstuhl für Unternehmensentwicklung, Innovation und wirtschaftlichen Wandel, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Carl-Zeiss-Straße 3, 07743, Jena, Deutschland
  • Martin Obschonka QUT Business School, Queensland University of Technology, GPO Box 2434, QLD 4001, Brisbane, Australien
  • Michael Wyrwich Lehrstuhl für Unternehmensentwicklung, Innovation und wirtschaftlichen Wandel, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Carl-Zeiss-Straße 3, 07743, Jena, Deutschland
  • Samuel D. Gosling Department of Psychology, University of Texas, 1 University Station, 78712, Austin, TX, USA
  • Peter J. Rentfrow Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge, Downing Site, CB 2 3EB, Cambridge, Großbritannien
  • Jeff Potter Atof Inc., 17 Magazine Street, 02139, Cambridge, MA, USA



Personality traits, Entrepreneurial personality, Big Five, Entrepreneurship, Regional cultures


Recent research has found clear indications of regional differences in the personality traits of the population. Such regional differences may significantly contribute to explaining regional development. We provide an overview of regional differences in entrepreneurial personality traits among the population in Germany. There are a number of highly significant regional differences but the strength of the effects is relatively small. The empirical evidence suggests that the regional differences found are due to selective migration and also to socialization.


Download data is not yet available.


Audretsch, D. B.; Obschonka, M.; Gosling, S. D.; Potter, J. (2017). A new perspective on entrepreneurial regions: Linking cultural identity with latent and manifest entrepreneurship. In: Small Business Economics 48, 3, 681-697. doi: 10.1007/s11187-016-9787-9

Beesley, M. E.; Hamilton, R. T. (1984): Small Firms’ Seedbed Role and the Concept of Turbulence. In: The Journal of Industrial Economics 33, 2, 217-231. doi: 10.2307/2098510

Benet-Martínez, V.; John, O. P. (1998): Los Cinco Grandes across cultures and ethnic groups: multitrait multimethod analyses of the Big Five in Spanish and English. In: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 75, 3, 729-750.

Bersch, J.; Gottschalk, S.; Müller, B.; Niefert, M. (2014): The Mannheim Enterprise Panel (MUP) and Firm Statistics for Germany. Mannheim. = ZEW Discussion Paper 14-104.

Bleidorn, W.; Klimstra, T. .; Denissen, J. J.; Rentfrow, P. J.; Potter, J.; Gosling, S.D. (2013): Personality maturation around the world. A cross-cultural examination of social-investment theory. In: Psychological Science 24, 12, 2530-2540. doi: 10.1177/0956797613498396

Bortz, J.; Schuster, C. (2010): Statistik für Sozial- und Humanwissenschaftler. Heidelberg.

Bosma, N.; Hessels, J.; Schutjens, V.; van Praag, M.; Verheul, I. (2012): Entrepreneurship and role models. In: Journal of Economic Psychology 33, 2, 410-424. doi: 10.1016/j.joep.2011.03.004

Bosma, N.; Sternberg, R. (2014): Entrepreneurship as an Urban Event? Empirical Evidence from European Cities. In: Regional Studies 48, 6, 1016-1033. doi: 10.1080/00343404.2014.904041

Caliendo, M.; Fossen, F.; Kritikos, A. S. (2014): Personality characteristics and the decision to become and stay self-employed. In: Small Business Economics 42, 4, 787-814. doi: 10.1007/s11187-013-9514-8

Chell, E. (2008): The entrepreneurial personality: A social construction. Abingdon.

Chinitz, B. (1961): Contrasts in Agglomeration: New York and Pittsburgh. In: American Economic Review 51, 2, 279-289.

Cohen, J. (1988): Statistical Power Analysis for the Behavioral Sciences. Hillsdale.

Digman, J. M. (1990): Personality structure: Emergence of the five-factor model. In: Annual Review of Psychology 41, 1, 417-440. doi: 10.1146/

Elliott, M. R. (2008): Model Averaging Methods for Weight Trimming. In: Journal of Official Statistics 24, 4, 517-540.

Falck, O.; Heblich, S.; Lameli, A.; Südekum, J. (2012): Dialects, cultural identity, and economic exchange. In: Journal of Urban Economics 72, 2‑3, 225-239. doi: 10.1016/j.jue.2012.05.007

Florida, R. (2002): The Rise of the Creative Class and how it’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life. New York.

Florida, R.; Adler, P.; Mellander, S. (2017): The city as innovation machine. In: Regional Studies 51, 1, 86-96. doi: 10.1080/00343404.2016.1255324

Fritsch, M.; Bublitz, E.; Sorgner, A.; Wyrwich, M. (2014): How much of a socialist legacy? The re-emergence of entrepreneurship in the East German transformation to a market economy. In: Small Business Economics 43, 2, 427-446. doi: 10.1007/s11187-014-9544-x

Fritsch, M.; Rusakova, A. (2012): Self-Employment after Socialism: Intergenerational Links, Entrepreneurial Values, and Human Capital. In: International Journal of Developmental Science 6, 3‑4, 167-175. doi: 10.3233/DEV-2012-12106

Fritsch, M.; Wyrwich, M. (2014): The Long Persistence of Regional Levels of Entrepreneurship: Germany 1925-2005. In: Regional Studies 48, 6, 955-973. doi:

Fritsch, M.; Wyrwich, M. (2017): Persistence of Regional Entrepreneurship: Causes, Effects, and Directions for Future Research. In: International Review of Entrepreneurship 15, 4, 395-416.

Glaeser, E. L. (2011a): Cities, productivity, and quality of life. In: Science 333, 6042, 592-594. doi: 10.1126/science.1209264

Glaeser, E. L. (2011b): Triumph of the city: How our greatest invention makes us richer, smarter, greener, healthier and happier. London.

Glaeser, E. L.; Kerr, S. P.; Kerr, W. R. (2015): Entrepreneurship and urban growth: An empirical assessment with historical mines. In: The Review of Economics and Statistics 97, 2, 498-520.

Gruhl, A.; Schmucker, A.; Seth, S. (2012): Das Betriebs-Historik-Panel 1975-2010 * Handbuch Version 2.1.1. Nürnberg. = FDZ-Datenreport 04/2012 (de).

Hartke, W. (1959): Gedanken über die Bestimmung von Räumen gleichen sozialgeographischen Verhaltens. In: Erdkunde 13, 4, 426-436. doi: 10.3112/erdkunde.1959.04.13

Helsley, R. .; Strange, W. C. (2011): Entrepreneurs and cities: Complexity, thickness and balance. In: Regional Science and Urban Economics 41, 6, 550-559. doi: 10.1016/j.regsciurbeco.2011.04.001

Horvitz, D. G.; Thompson, D. J. (1952): A Generalization of Sampling Without Replacement from a Finite Universe. In: Journal of the American Statistical Association 47, 260, 663-685.

Isaacson, W. (2011): Steve Jobs. New York.

John, O. P.; Srivastava, S. (1999): The Big Five trait taxonomy: History, measurement, and theoretical perspectives. In: Pervin, L. A.; John, O. P. (Hrsg.): Handbook of personality: Theory and research. New York, 102-138.

Loehlin, J. C. (1992): Genes and environment in personality development. Newbury Park, CA.

Loehlin, J. C.; McCrae, R. R.; Costa, P. T. Jr.; John, O. P. (1998): Heritabilities of common and measure-specific components of the Big Five personality factors. In: Journal of Research in Personality 32, 4, 431-453. doi: 10.1006/jrpe.1998.2225

Magnusson, D.; Törestad, B. (1993): A holistic view of personality: A model revisited. In: Annual Review of Psychology 44, 427-452. doi: 10.1146/

McCrae, R. R.; Costa, P. T. Jr. (1999): A five-factor theory of personality. In: Pervin, L. A.; John, O. P. (Hrsg.): Handbook of personality: Theory and research. New York, 139-153.

Miegel, M. (1991): Wirtschafts- und arbeitskulturelle Unterschiede in Deutschland. Zur Wirkung außerökonomischer Faktoren auf die Beschäftigung. Gütersloh.

Obschonka, M.; Schmitt-Rodermund, E.; Silbereisen, R. K.; Gosling, S. D.; Potter, J. (2013): The regional distribution and correlates of an entrepreneurship-prone personality profile in the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom: A socioecological perspective. In: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 105, 1, 104-122. doi: 10.1037/a0032275

Obschonka, M.; Stuetzer, M. (2017): Integrating Psychological Approaches to Entrepreneurship: The Entrepreneurial Personality System (EPS). In: Small Business Economics 49, 1, 203-231. doi: 10.1007/s11187-016-9821-y

Obschonka, M.; Stuetzer, M.; Audretsch, D. B.; Rentfrow, P. J.; Potter, J.; Gosling, S. D. (2016): Macropsychological factors predict regional economic resilience during a major economic crisis. In: Social Psychological and Personality Science 7, 2, 95-104. doi: 10.1177/1948550615608402

Obschonka, M.; Stuetzer, M.; Gosling, S. D.; Rentfrow, P. J.; Lamb, M. E.; Potter, J.; Audretsch, D. B. (2015): Entrepreneurial regions: Do macro-psychological cultural characteristics of regions help solve the “knowledge paradox” of economics? In: Plos one 10, 6, e012933. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0129332

Obschonka, M.; Stuetzer, M.; Rentfrow, P. J.; Potter, J.; Gosling, S. D. (2017): Did strategic bombing in the Second World War lead to ‘German Angst’? A large-scale empirical test across 89 German cities. In: European Journal of Personality 31, 3, 234-257. doi: 10.1002/per.2104

Parker, S. (2009): Why do small firms produce the entrepreneurs? In: The Journal of Socio-Economics 38, 3, 484-494.

Rauch, A.; Frese, M. (2007): Let’s put the person back into entrepreneurship research. A meta-analysis on the relationship between business owners’ personality traits, business creation, and success. In: European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology 16, 4, 353-385. doi: 10.1080/13594320701595438

Rentfrow, P. J.; Gosling, S. D.; Potter, J. (2008): A theory of the emergence, persistence, and expression of geographic variation in psychological characteristics. In: Perspectives on Psychological Science 3, 5, 339-369. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-6924.2008.00084.x

Roberts, B. W.; Walton, K. E.; Viechtbauer, W. (2006): Patterns of mean-level change in personality traits across the life course: a meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. In: Psychological Bulletin 132, 1, 1‑25.

Saxenian, A. (1994): Regional Advantage: Culture and Competition in Silicon Valley and Route 128. Cambridge, MA.

Schumpeter, J. A. (1934): The theory of economic development. Cambridge, MA.

Shane, S.; Nicolaou, N.; Cherkas, L.; Spector, T. D. (2010): Genetics, the Big Five, and the tendency to be self-employed. In: Journal of Applied Psychology 95, 6, 1154-1162. doi: 10.1037/a0020294

Siart, O.; Lang, F. (2016) (Hrsg.): Die Schwaben. Zwischen Mythos und Marke. Stuttgart.

Sorenson, O. (2017): Regional ecologies of entrepreneurship. In: Journal of Economic Geography 17, 5, 959-974. doi: 10.1093/jeg/lbx031

Stuetzer, M.; Audretsch, D. B.; Obschonka, M.; Gosling, S. D.; Rentfrow, P. J.; Potter, J. (2017): Entrepreneurship culture, knowledge spillovers and the growth of regions. In: Regional Studies. doi: 10.1080/00343404.2017.1294251

Stuetzer, M.; Obschonka, M.; Audretsch, D. B.; Wyrwich, M.; Rentfrow, P. J.; Coombes, M.; Satchell, M. (2016): Industry structure, entrepreneurship, and culture: An empirical analysis using historical coalfields. In: European Economic Review 86, 52-72. doi: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2015.08.012

Wyrwich, M. (2013): Can socioeconomic heritage produce a lost generation with regard to entrepreneurship? In: Journal of Business Venturing 28, 5, 667-682.

Zhao, H.; Seibert, S. E.; Lumpkin, G. T. (2010): The Relationship of Personality to Entrepreneurial Intentions and Performance: A Meta-Analytic Review. In: Journal of Management 36, 2, 381-404. doi: 10.1177/0149206309335187






Research Article

How to Cite

Fritsch M, Obschonka M, Wyrwich M, Gosling SD, Rentfrow PJ, Potter J. Regional differences of people with an entrepreneurial personality structure in Germany – An overview. RuR [Internet]. 2018 Feb. 28 [cited 2024 Jul. 20];76(1):65–81. Available from:


Most read articles by the same author(s)