The spatial dynamics of new firm births during an economic crisis: the case of Great Britain, 2004–2012

AbstractSpatial variations in entrepreneurial activity have been shown to be a time persistent phenomenon in many countries. This paper analyses how these spatial variations have been affected by the recent financial crisis within the context of theories of regional resilience and adaptability. The analysis applies Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis techniques to data on firm births across Local Authority Districts of Great Britain during the period 2004?2012. The results demonstrate that, whilst the overall shape of the spatial distribution of firm births remained persistent, there is evidence of an increase in regional inequality. This is primarily associated with a divergence between London and the rest of the distribution. London, together with part of its surrounding area, appears to constitute a resilient entrepreneurial regime that has generated a dynamic, adaptive response to the crisis with high rates of new firm formation in contrast to other regions which have remained locked into lower rates of entrepreneurship. This supports the view that regional entrepreneurship is a path dependent process: entrepreneurial regions are more adaptable to the effects of an exogenous shock than less entrepreneurial regions. Accordingly, entrepreneurship is a critical factor influencing the resilience of regions in responding to an economic crisis.

Journal or Publication:
Entrepreneurship & Regional Development
Paul Bishop
Daniel Shilcof
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