SOTA Review

The Biology of Entrepreneurship.

ERC SOTA Review No 27

Associated Themes
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Mental Health

What makes an entrepreneur? The past few years have witnessed a significant increase in research examining the role of biology in entrepreneurship. For instance, evidence shows that the genetic factors explain almost half of the variance in people’s tendencies towards entrepreneurship (Nicolaou, Shane, Cherkas & Spector, 2008). Other research suggests that hormones, such as testosterone and cortisol, affect the propensity of people to become entrepreneurs (Nicolaou, Patel & Wolfe, 2018; Wolfe & Patel, 2017b). Further research argues that entrepreneurs have increased activations in the frontopolar cortex of the brain when engaging in exploration tasks (Laureiro-Martinez et al., 2014). Studies also show that mental conditions, including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (Wiklund, Yu, Tucker & Marino, 2017), dyslexia (Logan, 2009), depression (Hessels, Rietveld, Thurik & van der Zwan, 2018), bipolar disorder (Johnson, Madole & Freeman, 2018) and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (Wolfe & Patel, 2017a), influence the propensity of individuals to engage in entrepreneurial outcomes.