Title: An experiment of institutional change in the ecosystem of entrepreneurship: easing sanctions against Iran

Authors: Elham Kalhor; Shayegheh Ashourizadeh; Thomas Schøtt

Addresses: Department of Marketing and Management, International Business and Entrepreneurship Research Group, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark ' School of Economics and Management, Department of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Strategy, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China ' Department of Entrepreneurship and Relationship Management, University of Southern Denmark, Kolding, Denmark

Abstract: The ecosystem of entrepreneurship includes institutions, notably the market with its arrangements, such as extent of the market and availability of opportunities. In Iran, extent and opportunities were limited by severe sanctions until 2015, when sanctions were eased by what is known as the nuclear agreement. This institutional change invites the hypothesis that easing sanctions entailed an expansion of entrepreneurship. This hypothesis is tested as a natural experiment, comparing entrepreneurial pursuits before and after the agreement, using the annual survey of adults and entrepreneurs in Iran conducted by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, complemented by in-depth interviews. Pre- and post-survey comparisons show increases in people's opportunity perceptions, intention to become entrepreneurs, and entry into entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs became increasingly pulled by opportunity and decreasingly pushed by necessity, increasingly export-oriented, and expectations for growth of businesses increased. These findings contribute to understanding how institutional change in the ecosystem of entrepreneurship can change entrepreneurial pursuits.

Keywords: entrepreneurship; opportunity; growth; ecosystem; experiment; institutional change; sanctions; Iran.

DOI: 10.1504/EJIM.2019.100811

European Journal of International Management, 2019 Vol.13 No.4, pp.435 - 453

Received: 08 Oct 2017
Accepted: 01 May 2018

Published online: 03 Jun 2019 *

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