This study explores the relationship between an entrepreneur's age and his/her social value creation goals. Building on the lifespan developmental psychology literature and institutional theory, we hypothesize a U-shaped relationship between entrepreneurs’ age and their choice to create social value through their ventures, such that younger and older entrepreneurs create more social value with their businesses while middle age entrepreneurs are relatively more economically and less socially oriented with their ventures. We further hypothesize that the quality of a country’s formal institutions in terms of economic, social, and political freedom steepen the U-shaped relationship between entrepreneurs’ age and their choice to pursue social value creation as supportive institutional environments allow entrepreneurs to follow their age-based preferences. We confirm our predictions using multilevel mixed-effects linear regressions on a sample of over 15,000 entrepreneurs (aged between 18 and 64 years) in 45 countries from Global Entrepreneurship Monitor data. The findings are robust to several alternative specifications. Based on our findings, we discuss implications for theory and practice, and we propose future research directions.

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Keywords Age, Entrepreneurship, Formal institutions, Lifespan psychology, Social entrepreneurship, Social value
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Journal Small Business Economics: an entrepreneurship journal
Brieger, S.A. (Steven A.), Bäro, A. (Anne), Criaco, G, & Terjesen, S. (2020). Entrepreneurs’ age, institutions, and social value creation goals: A multi-country study. Small Business Economics: an entrepreneurship journal. doi:10.1007/s11187-020-00317-z