Economic Incentives, Societal Culture, and Entrepreneurship: Country Evidence and Public Policy Implications

November 01, 2017

This presentation examines the interactive influence of economic incentives and societal culture on new business creation within the context of cultural effects.  It argues that economic incentives can help promote entrepreneurship by taking on a compensatory or reinforcing role in relation to societal culture.  A compensatory role would be for economic incentives to make up for a societal culture that is not particularly supportive of entrepreneurial behaviors.  A reinforcing role, on the other hand, would be for economic incentives to add to, or further enhance, the impact of an already existing supportive culture. It also argues that societal culture has a more intrinsic and enduring effect on entrepreneurial behaviors than economic incentives. This is particularly true for the high-growth innovation-driven entrepreneurship that involves new product and/or new technology development.  These ideas are presented as theoretical propositions and assessed with illustrative evidence from selected countries in Asia, North America, and Europe.  The presentation concludes with implications for entrepreneurship research and public policy.


Joe Cheng (Ph.D., University of Michigan) is a Research Professor of International Business at George Washington University and Professor Emeritus of Business Administration at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  During 2013-2016, he was Professor of Management, Michael J. Crouch Chair in Innovation, and Director of the Australian Innovation and Competitiveness Initiative at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. 

Joe’s research centers on three main areas: (1) innovation, R&D productivity, and international competitiveness; (2) globalization and multinational management; and (3) organizational learning, adaptation, and change. He is currently studying the changing pattern of foreign R&D investment in the Asia-Pacific and its spillover effects on innovation and entrepreneurship across the region, with focus on the JACKS countries (Japan, Australia, China, Korea, and Singapore). 

A former elected Chair of the Academy of Management International Management Division, he currently serves or has served on the editorial boards of 12 academic journals, including appointments as a consulting editor, reviewer, and special issue editor.

About the Pacific Region Forum

The David Lam Centre draws on academic, business, and government resources, to provide opportunities at Pacific Region Forum events for reporting, analyzing, discussing and debating strategies for articulating relationships within and between businesses and their environments in North America and East and Southeast Asia.

Themes related to potential intercultural continuities and divergences are explored with a view to advancing the consonance and compatibility between corporate and social relationships and cultural values across the Pacific and within North America. This Forum is organized by Rosalie L. Tung, Ming and Stella Wong Professor, International Business at SFU Beedie School of Business.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

2:30pm - 4:00PM

SFU Harbour Centre 
515 W. Hastings, Vancouver
2270 Sauder Industries Policy Room

Seating is first-come, first-served.


  • SFU David See-chai Lam Centre
  • Taiwan Studies Group, Department of History