Small Business Economics

, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 523–540 | Cite as

“Surfeiting, the appetite may sicken”: entrepreneurship and happiness



Do the presence and nature of entrepreneurship impact on national happiness, and are nations with happy citizens better for entrepreneurs to start new businesses? To provide tentative answers we survey the literature on entrepreneurship and subjective well-being and use various data sources to uncover the first evidence of the relationship between entrepreneurship and happiness at the country level. We find that opportunity-motivated entrepreneurship may contribute to a nation’s happiness but only to a certain point, at which the effects of happiness begin to decline. Moreover, our results suggest that a nation’s happiness affects early-stage opportunity-driven entrepreneurial activity.


Happiness Life satisfaction Entrepreneurship Development Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 

JEL Classifications

I31 M13 O50 L26 



We are grateful to Erkko Autio, Niels Bosma, Jonathan Levie and Sander Wennekers for helpful comments on the earlier drafts. José Ernesto Amoros and Oscar Cristi also acknowledges the support of The National Fund for Scientific and Technological Development, FONDECYT Chile, Project No 1130919 “Are entrepreneurs happier than others? The relationship between happiness, well-being and entrepreneurial activity at country and individual level”.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wim Naudé
    • 1
    • 2
  • José Ernesto Amorós
    • 3
  • Oscar Cristi
    • 4
  1. 1.Maastricht School of ManagementUniversity of Maastricht and United Nations University (UNU-MERIT)MaastrichtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.IZA—Institute for the Study of LabourBonnGermany
  3. 3.School of Business and EconomicsUniversidad del DesarrolloSantiagoChile
  4. 4.School of Business and EconomicsUniversidad San SebastiánSantiagoChile

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