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Entrepreneurship, Migration And Local Economic Deprivation

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  • Full or part time
    Dr P Thompson
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description

Entrepreneurship has identified as a potential solution to persistent localised deprivation (Williams and Williams, 2011). Unfortunately entrepreneurial activity is associated with the more geographically mobile members of the population (Levie, 2007; Alvarez and Barney, 2014), and will also potentially provide the opportunity for successful business owners to move out of their local areas (Frankish et al., 2014). This means that a lack of entrepreneurial activity may be reinforcing with few role models available for those living in such areas to follow, and those potential role models that develop also being likely to leave (Thompson et al., 2012). This study would examine in detail to what extent the pattern of migration and its relationship to entrepreneurship are present for those residing originally in deprived areas and for those moving into deprived areas. It would therefore provide an insight into the value for money achieved from policies that look to develop entrepreneurial activities in an effort to reduce deprivation and alleviate social exclusion (Blackburn and Ram, 2006). The study would consider how the context of deprived areas and the type of business ownership influence the outcomes achieved.

The project will involve the development of a theoretical model to account for the relationships between entrepreneurial activity and migration decisions building on the work of studies such as Thompson et al. (2012). This would then be tested empirically using econometric approaches that would be able to allow for both the decision to migrate to influence the decision to start a business and also for the desire to start a business to encourage migration. Such approaches have been used by studies such as Huggins and Thompson (2014) at the area level when considering the relationships between culture, well-being, entrepreneurship and economic development, whilst this study would be considering the choices of individuals. It would be envisaged that the study would take an English or UK perspective, where deprived areas are defined by the Index of Multiple Deprivation (McLennan et al., 2011). The main data used would be drawn from existing large datasets, particularly those such as the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) that follow individuals’ careers and migration choices, accounting for influences at the personal and area levels over a period of time. Other sources of data that could be used are cohort surveys that follow individuals through their lives capturing changes in in their lives and careers at discrete points in time.


Alvarez, S. A. and Barney, J. B. (2014) ‘Entrepreneurial opportunities and poverty alleviation’, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 38 (1), 159-184.
Blackburn, R. and Ram, M. (2006) ‘Fix or fixation? The contributions and limitations of entrepreneurship and small firms to combating social exclusion’, Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 18 (1), 73-89.
Frankish, J. S. Roberts, R. G. Coad, A. and Storey, D. J. (2014) ‘Is entrepreneurship a route out of deprivation?’, Regional Studies, 48 (6), 1090-1107.
Huggins, R. and Thompson, P. (2014) ‘Culture, entrepreneurship and uneven development: a spatial analysis’, Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 26 (9/10), 726-752.
Levie, J. (2007) ‘Immigration, in-migration, ethnicity and entrepreneurship in the United Kingdom’, Small Business Economics, 28 9), 143-169.
McLennan, D. Barnes, H. Noble, M. Davies, J. Garratt, E. and Dibben, C. (2011) The English Indices of Deprivation 2010, London: Department for Communities and Local Government.
Thompson, P. Jones-Evans, D. and Kwong, C. (2012) ‘Entrepreneurship in deprived urban communities: the case of Wales’, Entrepreneurship Research Journal, 2 (1).
Williams, N. and Williams, C. C. (2011) ‘Tackling barriers to entrepreneurship in a deprived urban neighbourhood’, Local Economy, 26 (1), 30-42.

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