Entrepreneurship Amid Stigma

Brian Hathaway, Management, The Wharton School, and Amy Sepinwall, Legal Studies & Business Ethics, The Wharton School

Abstract: This project will examine the response by entrepreneurs to sociopolitical forces such as nationalism and populism. I examine responses by Jewish businesses in Berlin (1932-38) to the emergence of the Nazi regime. Jewish entrepreneurs adapted to their changing circumstances and found solidarity from customers and competitors within the Jewish community. This funding will specifically fund the digitization of a data resource that provides time-varying, geographically-precise measures of stigma intensity throughout this period. That measure of stigma will become my key independent variable across a number of studies relating to innovation. For example, it will enable me to overlay new venture formation as well as innovation by existing organizations with the changing political landscape. It will enable me to examine the relationship between stigmatization and firm outcomes, and the local circumstances that help firms capitalize on their innovation. And it will suggest research directions that can be fruitfully explored in other populations of stigmatized entrepreneurs in our current era.