Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

On penniless peddlers: Subsistence entrepreneurship in emerging economies
by Uparna, Jayaram, Ph.D., Northwestern University, 2015, 176; 3705385
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation suggests three things: that the decisions about entrepreneurship in subsistence economies has a complex cultural ontogeny; that particular narrative strategies are used by subsistence entrepreneurs to successfully gain loans; and that constrained individuals still face discrimination even within new institutional forms of support, even though it is the explicit intention of these new forms to end bias. An inductive study set in rural India informs the first point, and also suggests ways in which the concept of “context” can be operationalized, by breaking it down into constituent components under physical, economic and cognitive dimensions. Global crowdfinancing helps me dissect and defend the next two points. I investigate positivity and negativity in the language of the pitch text, the cultural similarity between borrowing and lending nations, as well as the narrative complexity of their pitch, and how these influence the time to funding. Analyses indicate that positively worded loans are funded more slowly than negatively worded ones. Narrative has a monotonous and positive relation to funding speed. Finally, my results show that cultural similarity between borrowers and lenders affects the way capital flows, suggesting that even in tech-enabled financing solutions, cultural bias persists. In sum, I present evidence and argue that transformational and subsistence entrepreneurship evolve from and entail fundamentally different mechanisms, and that these differences merit focused investigations into subsistence entrepreneurship.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Weber, Klaus, Uzzi, Brian
Commitee: Contractor, Noshir, Waytz, Adam
School: Northwestern University
Department: Management and Organizations
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 76/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Management
Keywords: Big data, Crowd finance, Entrepreneurship, Informal economies, Micro finance, Topic modeling
Publication Number: 3705385
ISBN: 978-1-321-78322-3
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