I am professor (emeritus) and former Chair of Business Dynamics, Innovation, and Economic Change at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany. I am also Associate Editor of the academic journals “Regional Studies” and “Small Business Economics”.

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


December 29, 2021: My paper (with Maria Greve and Michael Wyrwich) „The COVID-19 Pandemic and Entrepreneurship in Germany: First Observations and Interpretations“ has just been published in Foresight and STI Governance, 15(4), 42-51. https://doi.org/10.17323/2500-2597.2021.4.42.51

We find that the overall level of business registrations slightly decreased during the first year of the pandemic, but that the effect is specific to certain industries. Innovative manufacturing industries and technology-oriented services experienced an increase in numbers of start-ups.

December 1, 2021: GERADE ERSCHIENEN! Die 3., überarbeitete Auflage des Lehrbuches „Entrepreneurship – Theorie, Empirie, Politik“ ist soeben im Verlag Springer-Gabler erschienen. Neu als Ko-Autor dabei ist Michael Wyrwich. https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-658-34637-9

Die in dem Buch enthaltenen Grafiken stehen auf dieser Webseite unter „material/entrepreneurship-theorie-empirie-politik“ im PPT-Format als Download zur Verfügung. http://m-fritsch.de/material/entrepreneurship-theorie-empirie-politik/

August 11, 2021: New working paper Cultural Imprinting: Ancient Origins of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Germany with Martin Obschonka, Fabian Wahl and Michael Wyrwich about the effect of the Roman occupation of German territories about 1,700 years ago on regional levels of entrepreneurship and innovation today. https://ideas.repec.org/p/jrp/jrpwrp/2021-012.html

Abstract: A region’s present-day economic performance can be deeply anchored in historical factors. We provide the first systematic evidence of a deep imprinting effect in the context of Roman rule in the south-western part of Germany nearly 2,000 years ago. Our analysis reveals that regions in the former Roman part of Germany show a stronger entrepreneurship and innovation culture today, evident by higher levels of quantity and quality entrepreneurship and innovation. The data indicate that this lasting ‘Roman effect’ was constituted by the early establishment of interregional social and economic exchange and related infrastructure. Our findings thus help in unpacking the hidden cultural roots of present-day economic performance, with important implications for research and economic policy.

August 10, 2021: My paper „One transition story does not fit them all: initial regional conditions and new business formation after communism“ with Maria Greve and Michael Wyrwich is now published online by Post-Communist Economies https://doi.org/10.1080/14631377.2021.1943912. 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.

June 25, 2021: OUT NOW! The Geography of Entrepreneurial Psychology by Martin Obschonka, Michael Fritsch and Michael Stuetzer https://doi.org/10.4337/9781788973380.

The book summarizes existing research and relevant insights from psychology, economics, management, sociology and geography to provide an overview to a new and innovative interdisciplinary field, answering the critical question ‘what is a vibrant startup culture?’ Highlighting recent empirical advances in mapping and analysing regional differences in macro-psychological factors associated with entrepreneurship, the book discusses the role of historical trajectories of regional differences, considering their significance to contemporary entrepreneurial and geographical psychology. Chapters turn to established psychological theories to measure entrepreneurship culture and its persistence between regions and cities, delivering key implications for practice, education and policy in entrepreneurship.

June 18, 2021: In a new paper forthcoming in Foresight and STI Governance Maria Greve, Michael Wyrwich and I provide a mid-term evaluation of the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on entrepreneurship in Germany. We find that the overall level of business registrations slightly decreased during the first year of the pandemic, but that the effect is specific to certain industries. Innovative manufacturing industries and technology-oriented services experienced an increase in numbers of start-ups. See http://www2.wiwi.uni-jena.de/Papers/jerp2021/wp_2021_007.pdf

June 15, 2021: Wesentliche Ergebnisse unserer neueren Arbeiten im zur Entwicklung ostdeutscher Regionen sind in diesem Policy Brief  zusammengefaßt. Die Ergebnisse machen deutlich, dass Unternehmertum und Wissen die wesentlichen Treiber der regionalen Entwicklung in Ostdeutschland darstellen. Die Arbeiten werden vom Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung im Rahmen des Projektverbundes „Modernisierungsblockaden in Wirtschaft und Wissenschaft der DDR“ gefördert.

June 9, 2021: My paper with Michael Wyrwich „Does Successful Innovation Require Large Urban Areas? Germany as a Counterexample“ is now published online in Economic Geography. https://doi.org/10.1080/00130095.2021.1920391

Taking the example of Germany we show the effect of history, institutions and the general settlement structure on the regional distribution and the success of innovation activities. We conclude that institutional factors
should play a more prominent role in theories that aim at explaining the spatial distribution of innovation activities.

May 20, 2021: NEW PAPER: „Long-Term Decline of Regions and the Rise of Populism: The Case of Germany“, Jena Economic Research Papers #2021-006, Friedrich Schiller University Jena (with Maria Greve and Michael Wyrwich). https://zs.thulb.uni-jena.de/receive/jportal_jparticle_01004912

In this paper Maria Greve, Michael Wyrwich and I analyzed the rise of the populist AFD party in Germany. A prominent hypothesis proposed in recent literature claims that places that are “left behind” or “do not matter” are a breeding ground for the rise of populism. We re-examine this hypothesis by analyzing the rise of populism in Germany. Our results suggest that the high vote shares of populist parties are not only associated with low regional levels of welfare as such, but also with the long-term decline of a region’s relative welfare. Hence, it is not the regions that do “not matter” that are most prone to the rise of populism, but the regions that once mattered, but are in long-term decline. Moreover, we find that regional knowledge represents an important channel through which the historical decline in wealth explains voting behavior in German regions.

May 2, 2021:

My paper „Is innovation (increasingly) concentrated in large cities? An international comparison“ (with Michael Wyrwich) appeared in a regular issue of  Research Policy (vol. 50, art. no. 104237. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.respol.2021.104237 We show that even high quality inventions are NOT concentrated in large metropolitan areas in most countries – the US (together with South Korea and Japan) is an extreme outlier in this respect. We conclude that while the agglomeration economies found in large cities may offer advantages for innovation activities, the extent of these advantages is not significant, and popular theories overemphasize the importance of large cities for innovation activities.

April 27, 2021: Next Thursday (April 29) Korneliusz Pylak, Michael Wyrwich and I present our paper „Historical Roots of Entrepreneurship in Different Regional Contexts—The Case of Poland“ in the Creative Spark-Workshop, 9:30-10AM (CET). From 10:00-10:25 Maria Greve will then present our work on „Path-dependence and historical shocks: Surprising evidence from (self-employment in) Germany“. Here is the program Creative spark EE vistuasl April 29 program. You can connect using the link https://zoom.us/j/5473226117?pwd=Y09iSnJ2QTJEdE51VXZnS3Y0eE5MZz09

April 6, 2021: There is a widely held belief that agglomeration economies encourage significantly more successful and productive innovation activities. In a new paper („Is innovation (increasingly) concentrated in large cities? An international comparison“) that has just been published online in Research Policy, Michael Wyrwich and I investigate the geographic concentration of patented inventions in 14 developed countries. We find that in most countries patenting is geographically dispersed with considerable shares of patented inventions in areas other than large cities. Also, there is no general tendency that inventors in large cities are more productive, in terms of filing patents, when compared to inventors in rural areas. We conclude that while the agglomeration economies found in large cities may offer advantages for innovation activities, the extent of these advantages is not significant, and popular theories overemphasize the importance of large cities for innovation activities. See https://doi.org/10.1016/j.respol.2021.104237

March 16, 2021: My paper „Types of Institutions and Well-Being of Self-Employed and Paid Employees in Europe“ together with Alina Sorgner and Michael Wyrwich was now published in a regular issue of Small Business Economics, vol 56 (2021), 877-901. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11187-019-00274-2  The results clearly indicate that fostering an entrepreneurial society in Europe is a welfare-enhancing strategy that benefits both, the self-employed and paid employees. In contrast to a widespread belief our findings suggest that labor market institutions
do not play an important role for well-being of self-employed as well as paid employees.

March 14, 2021: Korneliusz Pylak, Michael Wyrwich and I will present our work on historical roots of regional entrepreneurship in Poland in a Zoom workshop next Thursday, March 18, at 5 pm (CET). This is part of a mini-series of five Workshops on the „The Evolution, Persistence and Success of Entrepreneurial Ecosystems“. You can register at https://cardiff.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIpcOyprz0oG9MZLWoMRXXCNNqOFNHEiFfn

Here is the program of the whole Workshop series (all in UK time) Workshop Series – The Evolution, Persistence and Success of Entrepreneurial Ecosystems.

March 5, 2021: My paper „Micro dynamics and macro stability in inventor networks“ with Muhamed Kudic in Journal of Technology Transfer is now available online first at https://doi.org/10.1007/s10961-021-09851-8. Based on co-patenting data of the entire population of West German inventors in the field of laser technology, we analyze the development of their network from the onset of the technology in the early 1960 over a period of 45 years. A main focus is on the highly dynamic processes at the micro-level of inventors and their ties that seem to inconsistent with the remarkable stable structures at the macro level.

February 18, 2021: Happy to announce that my paper “Synergy and Policy-making in German Innovation Systems—Smart Specialization Strategies at National, Regional, Local Levels?” with Henriette Ruhrmann and Loet Leydesdorff in Regional Studies is now available online first at https://doi.org/10.1080/00343404.2021.1872780. We apply a Triple Helix Indicator to assess synergy generated in regional innovation systems and find a high share of total synergy generated at the regional and the local level.

January 21, 2021: Very sad news! My colleague, co-editor and good friend Johannes Broecker passed away last Tuesday evening. He was rather optimistic that his incurable illness would allow him to live much longer. We lost an enthusiastic scientist. My thoughts are with him and with his family. RIP Dear Johannes!

January 21, 2021: Together with Maria Kristalova, Michael Wyrwich, and further international colleagues I co-organize two special sessions on “Historical Roots of Regional Entrepreneurship and Innovation” and “Linking entrepreneurship and regional policy”  at this year’s ERSA congress “Territorial Futures – Visions and scenarios for a resilient Europe” (Bolzano, Italy, https://ersa.org/events/60th-ersa-congress-2/). All interested participants are cordially invited to submit their abstracts for both special sessions until March 9!

January 15, 2021: My paper „One Transition Story Does Not Fit Them All: Initial regional conditions and new business formation after communism“ (with Maria Kristalova and Michael Wyrwich) was accepted for publication in the journal Post-Communist Economies. The Working Paper version can be found here https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2020-014.

January 02, 2021: Back to work! I very much hope that 2021 will be a good year for all of us with many improvements that bring us back to normal.

December 09, 2020: Proud to find out that I am listed among the World’s Top 2 % most-cited scientists in my discipline according to a recent ranking of Stanford University. See Sekar, Manigandan. (2020). World’s Top 2% Scientists by Stanford University. https://doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.18594.45767

November 30, 2020: Die häufigsten Mörder im Tatort sind Unternehmer und Manager. Sie sind auch sehr häufig die Opfer. Was sagt das über das Unternehmerbild in Deutschland aus? – „Jobkiller“ 🙂

November 26, 2020: Here is a screenshot of the webinar with Maryann Feldman, David Audretsch and Michael Wyrwich yesterday. Great fun!

November 20, 2020: Don’t  forget to register for the Webinar on Entrepreneurship and Regional Growth in the Long Run on November 25, 2020, 14:00 CET. Michael Wyrwich and I will give an overview on our research on persistence of regional entrepreneurship and discuss implications for theory, policy and further research. David Audretsch and Maryann Feldman will be the discussants. You can register at https://www.regionalstudies.org/events/regions-cities-industry-series/#!

October 27, 2020: Great new paper with Michael Wyrwich „Initial Conditions and Regional Performance in the Aftermath of Disruptive Shocks: The Case of East Germany after Socialism“ We confirm that entrepreneurship an knowledge are the key drivers of growth, particularly in turbulent times. See: 2020 F&W Initial Conditions JERP 2020-017

Abstract: We investigate how initial conditions that existed in East Germany at the end of the socialist regime impact regional development during the turbulent shock transition to a market economic system. Our investigation spans a period of almost 30 years. Both the self-employment rate (an indication of the existence of a pre-socialist entrepreneurial tradition) and the share of the workforce with a tertiary degree have a strong positive effect on regional development. We conclude that knowledge and a tradition of entrepreneurship have long-run positive effects on development in regions that face disruptive shocks. Entrepreneurship and knowledge play a less important role for development across West German regions, where no significant shocks occurred.