An essay on the multidimensional statistical methods to characterize the entrepreneurial context in Russian regions

Obraztsova O.I.

Сand. Sci.(Econ.), Assoc. Professor, Moscow School of Economics at the Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia

Popovskaya E.V.

Сand. Sci. (Engineering), Senior Analyst, Laboratory for Entrepreneurship Research at the National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia

ID of the Article: 6650

For citation:

Obraztsova O.I., Popovskaya E.V. An essay on the multidimensional statistical methods to characterize the entrepreneurial context in Russian regions. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2017. No 4. P. 93-106


This paper constructs a multidimensional typology that captures the contextual feature of Entrepreneurial Framework Conditions (EFC) across Russian regions. An overview of entrepreneurship research priorities in last decades shows that entrepreneurship’s nature, extent and contribution to economic growth depend on the context in which it occurs. Contextual approach provides a deeper insight into adult’s intrinsic incentives to become entrepreneurial that vary according to the regional “matrix” in which individuals exist and develop. We consider a problem statement, principles of interpretation, multidimensional statistical methodology and its perspectives for entrepreneurship research in the regional context. We proved that databases from the official statistics and microdata of adult population social surveys in this area need to be combined to develop a body of evidence-based knowledge on entrepreneurial context. The contextual approach was interpreted in terms of factor analysis (FA) as a statistical method to regroup interrelated variables into a limited set of unobserved factors based on a shared common variance and dimension reduction. The essential aim of analysis was a “parsimony” enabling to discover the simplest method of interpretation for Rosstat data on the regional EFC. On the base of FA procedure we identified 3 latent factors (instead of the primary set of 144 regional economic and social indicators) that can be interpreted as “Well-being”, “Investment problems” and “Social problems”. These unobservable variables could not be directly measured but they are hypothetical constructs represented a surrounding medium of entrepreneurship. The reduced database was applied for two-step clustering set of 79 Russian regions covered by GeoRating Survey in 2011 (FOM, about 60 thous. of respondents, 18 variables harmonized with Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Questionnaire) into three homogeneous regional clusters by the type of entrepreneurial context. The first cluster consisted of 6 prosperous regions; the rest regions were determined as disadvantaged areas and subdivided into clusters of “The lack of investment” regions and of “The most socially deprived” regions. Using multidimensional statistical methodology on the base of comparable and geographically coherent regional statistics on EFC in conjunction with adult population surveys microdata, the paper argued, one might consider and explain barriers and stimuli of entrepreneurship development in compliance with special regional features of entrepreneurial context reflected in terms of proposed typology. It is found that the type of entrepreneurial context determines the more of an indirect influence on individuals’ decision to be entrepreneurial. The different regional clusters that are homogeneous by the entrepreneurial context show peculiar factors influencing individuals’ optimism or pessimism on business prospects in a region both for entrepreneurial and non-entrepreneurial population.

entrepreneurial activity; entrepreneurship research; contextual approach; multidimensional statistical methods; factor analysis; cluster analysis; cross-regional comparisons; entrepreneurial framework conditions


Aidis R., Estrin S., Mickiewcz T. (2008) Institutions and Entrepreneurship Development in Russia: A Comparative Perspective. Journal of Business Venturing. Vol. 23(6): 656-672. DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusvent.2008.01.005

Bergey P. K. (2014) Entrepreneurship in emerging markets. IEEE Engineering Management Review. No. 42(2): 2-8. DOI: 10.1109/ EMR.2014.2314538

Chepurenko A. Yu. (2012a) Razvitie predprinimatel’stva v Rossii [Entrepreneurship development in Russia]. In: Gorshkov M. K., ed. Rossiya i Kitaj: izmeneniya v social’noj strukture obshchestva [Russia and China: Social Structure Changes]. Moscow: Novyj khronograf: 168-205. (In Russ.)

Chepurenko A. Yu. (2012b) Chto takoe predprinimatel’stvo i kakaya politika v otnoshenii predprinimatel’stva nuzhna Rossii? (Zametki na polyah rabot sovremennyh zarubezhnyh klassikov) [What is entrepreneurship and what policy towards entrepreneurship does Russia need? (Notes in the margins of works by contemporary foreign classics)]. Zhurnal Novoj ehkonomicheskoj associacii [New Economic Association Journal]. No. 2: 102-124. (In Russ.)

Chepurenko A. Yu. (2013) Entrepreneurship as a sphere of social research: Russia and international experience. Sotsiologicheskie issledyvaniya [Sociological Studies] No.9: 32-42. (In Russ.)

Davidson D. (2001) On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme. In: Davidson D. Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation. Oxford: Clarendon Press: 183-198. DOI: 10.1093/0199246297.001.0001

Dukhon A. B. (2013) Sistema pokazatelej statistiki biznes – demografii: mezhdunarodnyj standart i opyt zarubezhnyh stran [Indicators of business demography statistics: international Standard and foreign countries’ experience]. Vestnik universiteta [Bulletin of the University]. No. 17: 67-74 (in Russ.)

Ettl K., Welter F. (2010) Gender, context and entrepreneurial learning. International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship. No. 2(2): 108–129. DOI: 10.1108/17566261011050991

Granovetter M. (1985) Economic action and social structure: The problem of embeddedness. American Journal of Sociology. No. 91: 481–510. DOI: 10.1086/228311

Il’inykh S. A., Mikhailova E. V. (2015) Innovations in organizations: introduction and resistance. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies] No.6: 86-90. (In Russ.)

Katz J., Steyaert C. (Eds.) (2004) Entrepreneurship in society: Exploring and theorizing new forms and practices of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship and Regional Development. Special Issue. No.16(3): 179–250.

Kim J.-O., ed., Mueller C.W., ed. (1989) Factor Analysis: Statistical Methods and Practical Issues. In: Factor, Discriminant and Cluster Analysis. Moscow: Finansy i statistika [Finances and Statistics]. (In Russ.)

Nasledov A. D. (2011) SPSS – 19: professional’nyi statisticheskii analiz dannykh [SPSS 19: professional statistical analysis of data]. Saint-Petersburg: Piter. (In Russ.)

Newth J., Woods C. (2014) Resistance to Social Entrepreneurship: How Context Shapes Innovation. Journal of Social Entrepreneurship. No. 5(2): 192 – 213. DOI:10.1080/19420676.2014.889739

Obraztsova O. I. (2013) Mezhregional’nye sopostavleniya rannej predprinimatel’skoj aktivnosti rossiyan v terminah prostranstvennoj statistiki. [Cross-regional comparisons of Russians’ early stage entrepreneurial activity in terms of spatial statistics]. Vestnik universiteta [Bulletin of the University]. No.17: 139-148. (In Russ.)

Obraztsova O. I. (2017) Statistika biznes-demografii: mezhdunarodnyj standart i perspektivy razvitiya v Rossijskoj Federacii [Business Demography Statistics: International Standard and prospects of development in the Russian Federation]. Saint-Petersburg: Ekho-Vek. (In Russ.)

Obraztsova O.I., Popovskaia E. V. (2012) Mikrodannye vyborochnyh obsledovanij naseleniya v kontekste razvitiya bizness – demografii v Rossii. [Microdata of Population Surveys in the context of business – demography development in Russia]. Voprosy statistiki. [Statistical Issues]. No.12: 8-16. (In Russ.)

Obraztsova O.I., Popovskaia E. V. (2016) Faktory i vozmozhnosti formirovaniya u naseleniya optimistichnosti v ocenke perspektiv razvitiya biznesa: mezhregional’nye sopostavleniya v social’no-ekonomicheskom kontekste [Factors and possibilities of formation of individuals’ optimism on the prospects for business development: inter-regional comparisons in the socio-economic context]. In: Materialy XVII Aprel’skoj mezhdunarodnoj nauchnoj konferencii po problemam razvitiya ehkonomiki i obshchestva [Proceedings of the XVII April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development]. Moscow: National Research University Higher School of Economics. (In Russ.)

Polanyi K. (1957) The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origin of Our Time. Boston: Beacon Hill

Quine W. Van O. (2008) The Philosophy of Logic. Moscow: Canon: 7-32 (In Russ.)

Smallbone D., Welter F., Ateljevic J. (2014) Entrepreneurship in emerging market economies: Contemporary issues and perspectives In: International Small Business Journal. No. 32(2): 113-116. DOI: 10.1177/0266242613511479

Tarasov I. P. (2010) Kontekstual’nyj podhod k ponimaniyu istiny [The contextual approach to understanding the truth]. Diss. ... stepeni doctora filosofskikh nauk [Doctoral thesis in Philosophy Sciences]. Saratovskij gosudarstvennyj universitet imeni N. G. Chernyshevskogo [N. G. Chernyshevsky Saratov State University]. Saratov: Izdatel’stvo universiteta [University Press]. (In Russ.)

Weber M. (1984) Die protestantische Ethik und der Geist des Kapitalismus. In: Winckelmann J. (Ed.), Weber M. Gütersloh Die protestantische. Ethik I. Eine Aufsatzsammlung. Germany: Gütersloher Verlagshaus Mohn (originally published 1920 by Mohr [Paul Siebeck], Tübingen). 7th ed.: 27–317.

Welter F. (2011) Contextualizing Entrepreneurship - Conceptual Challenges and Ways Forward. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice. No. 1: 165-184. DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6520.2010.00427.x

Welter F., Smallbone D. (2011) Institutional Perspectives on Entrepreneurial Behavior in Challenging Environments. Journal of Small Business Management. Vol. 49(1): 107-125. DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-627X.2010.00317.x

Zahra S.A., Wright M., Abdelgawad S. G. (2014) Contextualization and the advancement of entrepreneurship research. International Small Business Journal. No. 32(2): 479-500. DOI: 10.1177/0266242613519807

Content No 4, 2017