Entrepreneurship, Age, and Social Value Creation: A Constraint-based Individual Perspective

Brigitte Hoogendoorn, LM (Lorraine) Uhlaner*, Peter van der Zwan, Ute Stephan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We advance research on social entrepreneurship by offering a constraint-based individual perspective of “who” (gender, education) chooses to create social value “when” in their life course (proxied by age). Integrating predictions from situational strength theory in psychology and the life course perspective in sociology, we theorize that resource constraints determine at what age entrepreneurs are likely to prioritize social relative to economic value creation goals when starting their enterprise. We examine the intersection of entrepreneur age with gender and education to account for distinct patterns of resource constraints over the life course. Multilevel analyses of nationally representative samples of 5,251 new entrepreneurs from 44 countries reveal a robust curvilinear (U-shaped) relationship between age and social value
creation and a steeper U-curve for more highly educated women. Our study offers a springboard for future entrepreneurship research considering individuals’ constraints on prosocial value expression by applying intersectional analyses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages47
JournalJournal of Small Business Management
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 30 Sep 2022


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