Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence

Publication Details

Paper presented at 9th International Conference for Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Regional Development (ICEIRD). Bucharest, 23rd-24th June, 2016.


The median sovereign state size in the world has a population of 6.2m with 73 per cent of the states having a population under 20m (World Bank, 2014). Despite this, the mainstream literatures in most academic disciplines have chosen to neglect the unique determinants of smaller state growth and development. The purpose of this exploratory paper is to investigate whether smaller developed states actually perform better than other states and why? More specifically it investigates the role that entrepreneurship plays in this performance. This paper utilises an exploratory ‘cross-case’ analytic approach (Yin, 2014) in attempting to identify cross case patterns in comparative global indices. This approach can help identify the key influences and determinants on smaller state performance with particular emphasis on the role of entrepreneurship. The analysis shows that innovation-driven smaller states can be differentiated by their high investment in knowledge generation and diffusion, lower knowledge filters and higher levels of entrepreneurial capital (Acs et al, 2004). These states – which are predominantly Scandinavian and European - score highly on economic, non-economic and composite indices. These growth-oriented states help create and accumulate entrepreneurial capital by providing their citizens with a conductive institutional and governance environment which supports entrepreneurial learning opportunities. There are significant policy learning opportunities for smaller developing states and regions with policy autonomy.


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