Title: Emerging differently: an examination of entrepreneurial optimism in emerging economies

Authors: Shouming Chen; Arpita Joardar; Sibin Wu

Addresses: School of Economics and Management, Tongji University, Shanghai, China ' Charlton College of Business, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Massachusetts, USA ' Robert C. Vackar College of Business and Entrepreneurship, University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, Texas, USA

Abstract: This paper examines how entrepreneurial optimism and performance are related in two emerging economies, Laos and Kenya, by exploring the relationship between optimism and performance. The moderating effects of education and motive (opportunity vs. necessity) on the stated relationship are tested. By analysing a sample of 380 entrepreneurs in the two countries, we found that, unlike in Western countries where optimism generally leads to negative outcomes, optimistic entrepreneurs in emerging economies tend to perform better. Our results also suggest that when optimism is held constant, entrepreneurs motivated by opportunity outperform those who are motivated by necessity. However, education appears to have negative effect on entrepreneurial performance. Additionally, the above effects were found to be stronger for entrepreneurs from Laos than those from Kenya, which could be attributed to different religious beliefs. Findings, implications and limitations are discussed.

Keywords: optimism; performance; entrepreneurs; emerging economies; Laos; Kenya.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBEM.2017.087818

International Journal of Business and Emerging Markets, 2017 Vol.9 No.4, pp.354 - 374

Accepted: 27 May 2017
Published online: 30 Oct 2017 *

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