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González-Pernía, José Luis

English // ISSN: 2254-3767 // Keywords: Entrepreneurship, immigrants, human capital, Spain.


This dissertation analyzes the entrepreneurial activity of immigrants in Spain and the Basque Country. Based on data collected by the General Entrepreneurship Monitor and the Basque Statistics Institute, I draw on human capital, social cognition and spatial economic theories, and the immigrant entrepreneurship literature to analyze the different stages of the entrepreneurial process, starting from the intention to create a firm until start-up (pre-start-up stage) and through to the assessment of the performance of the business (post-start-up stage). More specifically, I focus on the entrepreneurial propensity of immigrants of various origins as well as the success level achieved by their initiatives. In order to assess the immigrants’ success as entrepreneurs, I compare the survival rates of foreign- and native-owned firms and the earnings of salaried and self-employed immigrants. I found that immigrants are more likely to start a business than natives, but less likely to succeed in terms of venture survival. Moreover, selfemployed immigrants earn a higher income than salaried ones. Based on the findings of my empirical work, this dissertation makes a modest contribution to the debate surrounding the economic and social benefits immigrants could derive from self-employment. In addition, I discuss the appropriateness of labelling the entrepreneurial activity of immigrants and ethnic minorities as ethnic and immigrant entrepreneurship. I identify some barriers faced by immigrants both during the start-up process and the subsequent running of the business, and I suggest policy initiatives to help immigrants overcome these difficulties. In the last section of the dissertation, the methodological and data-related limitations of the study are presented and future research avenues are suggested.

Taking into account that regions have become complex policy spaces in which different policies coexist and that regional systems have become central for innovation activities in firms, this research uses a regional case study focused on a specific S&T programme to analyse different policy impacts at firm level. In addition, interactions between different policies in a multi-level approach are analysed, constituting a systemic evaluation. Finally, the coexistence of different rationales in a certain policy and their interactions are explored. The thesis thus provides a complete overview of regional policy complexity in science and technology from both a theoretical and practical perspective, proposing a new approach for evaluating this complexity with a mixed methodology that takes the best from both qualitative and quantitative approaches.