Collaborative Research: Media Influences on Entrepreneurship and Innovation

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Business leaders and policy makers stress the importance of stimulating entrepreneurial activity for the continued vitality of the US economy, but many policies to promote entrepreneurship have had mixed effectiveness. One reason is the lack of exposure to the processes of innovation and starting a new firm. This research uses the idea that television is often credited for breaking new cultural ground, ushering in acceptance of minority groups, and shifting opinions on important social issues of the day, to assess if televised business plan competitions can shift opinions about the willingness and desirability of starting a business. The results have the potential to suggest a low cost means of introducing large numbers of individuals to the central challenges facing startups, and strategies to overcome them.

The study will combine data from a wide range of sources, such as Nielsen ratings, in-take data from the Small Business Administration, patent application data from the US Patent and Trade Office, and data on business creation, to explore whether exposure to a televised business plan competition affects rates of activity associated with new business formation across the United States. By exploring within-market variation in the show's popularity over time as measured by Nielsen ratings, as well as exogenous shocks to programming that arise when local sporting events or weather conditions disrupt the television-viewing patterns of the target demographic, which in turn impacts the size of the audience for given episodes, the study will assess how increasing familiarity with the ups and downs of starting a business affect individuals? willingness to actually start businesses.

Principal Investigator: 
David Robinson
Duke University
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Start Date: 
May, 01 2017
Last Amendment Date: 
Apr, 20 2017
Expiration Date: 
Apr, 30 2019
Award Instrument: 
Standard Grant
Program Manager: 
Maryann Feldman
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2200 W. Main St, Suite 710
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