Journal of International Entrepreneurship

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 370–389 | Cite as

An experimental analysis of risk and entrepreneurial attitudes of university students in the USA and Brazil

  • Dennis BarberIII


There is a long-standing debate about whether entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs differ in risk aversion levels. The paper addresses international differences in risk and entrepreneurial attitudes of university students, specifically in the USA and Brazil. This paper also aims to add to the ongoing debate surrounding the risk attitudes of entrepreneurial persons when compared to non-entrepreneurial persons. The data from the paper was generated from an economic experiment. The economic experiment included a sample of students from both the USA and Brazil. Subjects completed a shortened version of the Entrepreneurial Attitude Orientation (EAO) and then participated in an investment game. Subjects in the USA were found to be more entrepreneurial than the sample in Brazil. This held true for two separate definitions of entrepreneurial. There was no difference in the investment decisions between subjects from the two countries. Also, entrepreneurial subjects invested a higher percentage of their money in a risky asset. This is one of the first papers to present results from an internationally conducted economic experiment testing for differences in risk aversion levels between entrepreneurial and non-entrepreneurial individuals.


Risk aversion Entrepreneurship Brazil Experimental economics Entrepreneurial intentions Entrepreneurial attitude 


Existe un debate antiguo sobre si los emprendedores y las personas que no son emprendedoras difieren en su nivel de aversión a tomar riesgos. Este artículo aborda las diferencias internacionales en las actitudes empresariales y la toma de riesgos de los estudiantes universitarios, especialmente en los Estados Unidos y en Brasil. Este artículo aporta también un nuevo enfoque al debate en desarrollo sobre las actitudes de los emprendedores frente a la toma de riesgos en comparación con las actitudes de individuos que no son emprendedores. La información fue generada a partir de un experimento económico llevado a cabo en los Estados Unidos y en Brasil. Los sujetos completaron una versión abreviada de Entrepreneurial Attitude Orientation (EAO) y luego participaron en un juego de inversión. Los sujetos estadounidenses resultaron ser más emprendedores que los del grupo de muestra brasileño. Esto fue cierto para dos definiciones diferentes de lo que significa ser emprendedor. No hubo ninguna diferencia en las decisiones de inversión entre los sujetos de los dos países. Asimismo, los emprendedores invirtieron un porcentaje más alto de dinero en un valor arriesgado. Este es uno de los primeros artículos que presenta los resultados de un experimento económico internacional que examina las diferencias en los niveles de aversión de toma de riesgos entre individuos emprendedores e individuos que no lo son.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsArmstrong State UniversitySavannahUSA

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