Entrepreneurship in Latin America: a step up the social ladder?

Microeconomics, Competition and Productivity
Review by: 
Inter-American Development Bank
Eduardo Lora (editor)
Francesca Castellani (editor)
The World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank
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This book is part of the Latin American Development Forum Series

Entrepreneurship is a critical process in a dynamic capitalist economy. It generates new productive capacities, processes, and goods; promotes innovation; and fosters employment creation, growth, and development. It cuts across many disciplines, including psychology, the theory of production, labor economics, talent economics, risk theory, and public policy. Public policies in Latin America and elsewhere that seeks to promote entrepreneurship should aim to engage the middle class and the lower parts of the income distribution. This book looks at the potential but also the limits of policies to promote entrepreneurship as a main vehicle for social mobility across broad social segments of society as well as steps to remove the resource constraints that hamper entrepreneurship in areas such as credit markets and education. This volume assesses the relevant literature on entrepreneurship and connects it with new developments in the analysis of the middle class and social mobility. The first chapter gives overview and policy implications. Chapter two undertakes a review of the economic literature on entrepreneurship and relates it to the economic and sociological literature on middle class and social mobility. Chapter three describes Latin American middle-class entrepreneurs and their firms. The role played by entrepreneurship in fostering intergenerational social and economic mobility is the topic of chapter four. The role of values in shaping the choice of becoming an entrepreneur is further pursued in chapter five. Chapter six explores the role that social capital plays in the dynamism of firms in Ecuador.