I am professor (emeritus) and former Chair of Business Dynamics, Innovation, and Economic Change at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany. I am also an editor of the academic journal “Small Business Economics”.

Ich bin Professor (Emeritus) für Volkswirtschaftslehre (Unternehmensentwicklung, Innovation und wirtschaftlichen Wandel) an der Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena sowie ein Editor der Fachzeitschrift „Small Business Economics“.


November 27, 2023: I am happy to announce that my paper

„On the Roman Origins of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Germany“

written together with Martin Obschonka, Fabian Wahl, and Michael Wyrwich has just been published online in Regional Studies. The paper is open access and is available under https://doi.org/10.1080/00343404.2023.2276341.

In this paper we investigate whether the development of regional disparities in entrepreneurship and innovation in Germany can be traced back to Roman rule 2000 years ago. We find a lasting positive Roman effect on the level and quality of entrepreneurship and innovation. This effect might be due to the imprint of local hard factors, such as interregional social and economic exchange, particularly emerging from the integration into the Roman Empire. This effect remains robust when a number of other significant historical developments are taken into account. We hope that these results stimulate a scholarly debate on the probably underestimated importance of ancient roots of economic development. History matters !!!

October 20, 2023: Here is a new working paper that I wrote with Alina Sorgner and Michael Wyrwich. It is about self-mployment at older age. The title is

Are Senior Entrepreneurs Happier than Who? The Role of Income and Health„.

In this paper, we propose an extension of the standard occupational choice model to analyze the life satisfaction of senior entrepreneurs as compared to paid employees and particularly retirees in Germany. The analysis identifies income and health status as main factors that shape the relationship between occupational status and life satisfaction. Senior entrepreneurs enjoy higher levels of life satisfaction than retirees and senior paid employees. This higher life satisfaction is mainly due to their higher income. Physical and mental health play a crucial role in determining both an individual’s occupational status and their overall life satisfaction. We find that senior self-employed report to be healthier compared to other groups of elderly individuals. However, when controlling for health, retirees exhibit an even higher level of life satisfaction compared to their self-employed counterparts. Heterogeneity analysis of various types of senior entrepreneurs and senior paid employees confirms this general pattern. In addition, we find some evidence indicating that senior entrepreneurs may compromise their leisure time, a main asset of retired individuals. Implications for research, policy, and practitioners are discussed. The paper can be downloaded here https://ideas.repec.org/p/jrp/jrpwrp/2023-016.html

October 1, 2023: My paper „Historical Legacies of Regional Innovation Activity – The Case of East (and West) Germany“ with Maria Greve and Michael Wyrwich has just been published in the book Roadblocks to the Socialist Modernization Path and Transition—Evidence from East Germany and Poland (London 2024: Palgrave Macmillan), edited by Jutta Guenther, Dagmara Jajeśniak-Quast, Udo Ludwig and Hans-Jürgen Wagener. The contributions to the book summarize main results of the joint research project Modernisierungsblockaden in Wirtschaft und Wissenschaft der DDR (Obstacles to Modernization in the Economy and Science of the GDR) that was financed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The book is open access and can be downoaded under https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-37050-2

September 14, 2023: Ein neuer Beitrag in der Sendung „Quarks Daily – Dein täglicher Wissenspodcast“ des Westdeutschen Rundfunks erklärt sehr schön die Befunde unserer Studie zu „Regionalen Persönlichkeitsunterschieden in Deutschland“ https://doi.org/10.1026/0033-3042/a000414.

Hier ist der Link zu dem Podcast: https://www1.wdr.de/mediathek/audio/daily-quarks/audio-typisch-norddeutsch—wie-unser-wohnort-uns-praegt-100.html

Wir sind weiter an dem Thema dran! Mehr folgt demnächst.

August 15, 2023: Happy to announce that the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research is financing our project (with Michael Wyrwich, Maria Greve, NN) on The Legacy of the GDR Innovation System – Intra-German Comparison and Comparison with Neighboring Countries in East-Central Europe (Modernisierungsblockaden in Wirtschafts und Wissenschaft der DDR. Entstehung und Folgen im innerdeutschen Vergleich und im Vergleich mit Nachbarländern in Ostmitteleuropa) for another two years beginning October 1, 2023. A key topic for the new project stage is a comparison of innovation and patenting in East Germany with two other post-socialist countries, the Czech Republic and Poland.

July 24, 2023:

In a new study published by the OECD, Jonathan Potter, Haifeng Qian, David Storey, Georgios Fotopoulos and I investigate the dynamics of regional entrepreneurship in the US over a period of about a century and compare the results with Germany and Englang & Wales. A main finding is that the stickiness (persistence) of regional entrepreneurship levels in the US is comparable to what was found in a number of European countries. The study identifies the types of regions that improve markedly (“leapfroggers”) or decline sharply (“plungers”) in their rank positions and the reasons for these changes. The paper draws out policy implications on regional levelling-up of entrepreneurship activity and sets out an agenda for further research. See See dx.doi.org/10.1787/bc031b

July 20, 2023:

Another co-author and good friend, David J. Storey, passed away. David was a pioneer of entrepreneurship research and one of my heroes when I started working in this field. Some few months ago, we were still working together on a study of persistence and change of regional entrepreneurship in Europe and in the US. https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/bc031b11-en I will miss his humor and inspiration. A great man and a good friend is gone. So sad …

July 10, 2023: In a new paper, Michael Wyrwich and I explore three important mechanisms behind the transmission of an entrepreneurial culture over a long period of time. First, we analyze the role model effects at the household level. We hypothesize that the larger the households of self-employed, the greater the opportunities for role model effects such as an intergenerational transfer of entrepreneurial values and attitudes, and hence the higher the regional start-up rate in later periods. Second, we investigate how the economic success of regional entrepreneurs fuels the role model effects. Third, we analyze if and to what extent the economic success in of regional entrepreneurship stimulates a collective memory of historical entrepreneurship that spurs self-employment in later periods. The analysis of entrepreneurship in German regions over a period of more than 90 years provides support for the significance of all three transfer channels.

The paper can be downloaded at https://ideas.repec.org/p/jrp/jrpwrp/2023-006.html. Comments are very welcome!

June 15, 2023: My paper „Creativity, knowledge and institutions: A European perspective on Florida’s ‘The Rise of the Creative class’ 20 years later“ (with Bjørn T. Asheim, Høgni K. Hansen and Arne Isaksen) has been published in the book Amit Batabyal and Peter Nijkamp (eds.): The Creative Class Revisited: New Analytical Advances. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing 2023, 325–342. https://doi.org/10.1142/9789811267659_0011 The chapter recaps the key tenets of the creative class theory of economic development and discusses the key issues in the conceptual and analytical debate it has inspired.

January 10, 2023: My paper „Entrepreneurship in the Long Run: Empirical evidence and historical mechanisms“ (with Michael Wyrwich) is now out in Foundations and Trends in Entrepreneurship, 19 (2023), No. 1, 1-125. https://doi.org/10.1561/0300000100

Abstract: We review and discuss research on the development of regional entrepreneurship over time. A particular focus is on the long-term persistence of regional levels of entrepreneurship, its explanation, and its meaning for economic development. What is the state of empirical research in this field, and what can explain the empirical findings? How are long-term trends of entrepreneurial activity linked to regional performance in terms of employment, gross domestic product (GDP), and innovative activity? Based on our assessments we derive conclusions for theory, policy implications, and avenues for further research.

January 2, 2023:  How did German reunification affect innovation activities in the Eastern and the Western part of the country? Does the innovation system of East Germany converge towards West German level? A new paper with Maria Greve and Michael Wyrwich investigates these issues by means of a difference-in-difference approach. Our findings indicate that integrating the two innovation systems mainly benefitted the West.

Fritsch, Michael, Maria Greve and Michael Wyrwich: Shades of a Socialist Legacy? Innovation Activity in East and West Germany 1877-2014. Jena Economic Research Papers #2023-001, Friedrich Schiller University Jena. https://ideas.repec.org/p/jrp/jrpwrp/2023-001.html

Average number of patent applications per 10 thousand population in East and West Germany 1877 to 2014

 Abstract: The unification of the East and West German states in 1990 initiated the integration of two distinct innovation systems. In this process, the poorly functioning socialist system of East Germany adopted the formal institutions and organization of West Germany, a western-style market economy. We investigate the effect of this integration on patenting activity by applying a. While patenting activity increased in both parts of the country until recently, the gap between East and West Germany widened considerably over time. This divergence in innovation activity suggests that current East-West differences may be indirectly rooted in this socialist legacy and the sudden shock transformation that occurred upon reunification. We also find that the similarity of the technology profile of the East and West German innovation systems is crucial to understand the divergence. So, East German innovation activity fell behind especially in technologies where both East and West Germany were specialized in before re-unification. The same applies to technologies where only West Germany was specialized in.

December 22, 2022: Mein gemeinsam mit Maria Greve und Michael Wyrwich verfasster Aufsatz „Regionale Ausgangsbedingungen und Unternehmensgründungen im post-sozialistischen Kontext“ ist jetzt erschienen in dem von Falk Flade, Anna M. Steinkamp und Konrad Walerski herausgegebenen Buch  Transformation in Polen und Ostdeutschland – Voraussetzungen, Verlauf und Ergebnisse. Wiesbaden 2022: Harrassowitz, 125-140. Dieses Buch gibt einen Überblick über Ergebnisse des vom Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung geförderten Projektverbundes Modernisierungsblockaden in Wirtschaft und Wissenschaft der DDR (ModBlock DDR). Es ist Open Access und kann herunter geladen werden unter https://opus4.kobv.de/opus4-euv/files/1253/IPS_Band_11.pdf.

In unserem Aufsatz untersuchen wir die Gründe für die ausgeprägten regionalen Unterschiede von Unternehmensgründungen im Zuge der Transformation vom Sozialismus zu einer Marktwirtschaft in Ostdeutschland. Relativ hohe Gründungsraten fin­den sich in Regionen, die am Ende der sozialistischen Periode über gut qualifi­zierte Arbeitskräfte und einen relativ hohen Anteil an verbliebenen Selbstständigen verfügten. Dies gilt auch für Neugründungen in innovativen und wissensintensiven Branchen. Die Politik sollte diesen Unter­schieden in den regionalen Bedingungen für Unternehmensgründungen Rechnung tragen.

December 18, 2022: My paper (with Moritz Zoellner) „Actor Fluidity and Knowledge Persistence in Regional Inventor Networks“ was accepted for publication in the journal economies and is available online at https://www.mdpi.com/2227-7099/10/12/298/pdf.

We deal with the possible consequences of the rather pronounced levels of inventor’s entry and exit in regional innovation systems might have for the  persistence of regional knowledge and inventive activity. Based on data for nine German regions we estimate how the size and structure of regional inventor networks may influence knowledge persistence over time Iusing alternative assumptions about knowledge transfer. The results suggest that the knowledge of new inventors is much more important for the persormance of regional innovation systems than old knowledge that persists.

November 22, 2022: Happy to find out that I am again listed by Elsevier among the top 2% highly cited academic authors world wide. See https://elsevier.digitalcommonsdata.com/datasets/btchxktzyw/5

November 18, 2022: Adnan Efendic, Tomasz Mickiewicz, Tomasz Skica and I are guest editors of a Special Issue „Entrepreneurship and local development in post-communist Central and Eastern Europe – new challenges are ahead“ of the journal Post-Communist Economies that just came out (no. 8 of vol. 38). See our editorial https://doi.org/10.1080/14631377.2022.2104502.

The Special Issue includes my paper (with Maria Greve and Michael Wyrwich) „One transition story does not fit them all: initial regional conditions and new business formation after communism“ (https://doi.org/10.1080/14631377.2021.1943912)  that analyzes the case of East Germany.
Abstract: We investigate the reasons for the pronounced regional differences of new business formation after the transformation from a centrally planned system to a market economy in East Germany. Relatively high start-up rates are found in regions that had a well-qualified workforce and a relatively high share of self-employment left over at the end of the communist period. This also holds for high-tech manufacturing start-ups. Based on our conclusion that policy should account for these initial regional conditions, we use a measure of the regional knowledge base and self-employment at the end of the communist period to introduce a classification of regions.

November 14, 2022: Hier der Link zu einem Interview mit mir, das am 13. November im Deutschlandfunk gesendet wurde. In diesem Interview geht es um wesentliche Ergebnisse meiner Analysen (mit Maria Greve und Michael Wyrwich) zu regionalen Unterschieden der Wahlergebnisse für rechtspopulistische Parteien.   https://www.deutschlandfunk.de/rechtspopulismus-und-kollektives-gedaechtnis-interview-michael-fritsch-oekonom-dlf-31fc1618-100.html

Hier auch der Link zu dem entsprechenden Aufsatz: “Long-Term Decline of Regions and the Rise of Populism: The Case of Germany

November 9, 2022: In a new paper published in the Journal of Economics and Statistics (see https://doi.org/10.1515/jbnst-2022-0058), my co-authors and I describe our compilation of  the Comprehensive Patent Data of the German Democratic Republic 1949-1990. This is a shorter version of our recent Working Paper at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Faculty of Economics. https://ideas.repec.org/p/jrp/jrpwrp/2022-011.html. Remarkable that this paper about East German patents appeared on a 9th of November 🙂

October 11, 2022: My paper with Maria Greve and Michael Wyrwich entitled “Long-Term Decline of Regions and the Rise of Populism: The Case of Germany” has been published online in the Journal of Regional Science. In this paper, we analyze the recent rise of populism in Germany and suggest that high vote shares of populist parties are associated with the long-term decline of a region’s relative welfare, which goes beyond a lifespan of people inhabiting such “left behind” places. Moreover, we are able to show that a place-based collective memory about past prosperity plays a crucial role in shaping present resentment. Finally, we find a stronger activation of collective memory about the past that translates into support of populism today among less educated people.

September 25, 2022:  Here is a description of the Comprehensive Patent Data of the German Democratic Republic 1949-1990 in English published as a Working Paper of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Faculty of Economics. https://ideas.repec.org/p/jrp/jrpwrp/2022-011.html  A shorter version of this paper was accepted for publication in the Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik).