Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, CARMA 2020 - 3rd International Conference on Advanced Research Methods and Analytics

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Third Places and Art Spaces: Using Web Activity to Differentiate Cultural Dimensions of Entrepreneurship Across U.S. Regions
Timothy F. Slaper, Alyssa Bianco, Peter Lenz

Last modified: 30-06-2020


We use unconventional data to assess regional entrepreneurial activity
together with regional variations in personality (or culture) driving differences
in business formation as advanced by Obschonka et al. (2015). In this paper,
we expand recent research using virtually contemporaneous, and
geographically granular, user online activity to estimate a region’s proclivity
for entrepreneurship. We assess the statistical relationships between business
formation, operationalized as establishment births, and the web activity
associated with a user’s interest in “third places” – informal gathering and
mixing locations – and sites related to arts, music and design – “arts spaces.”
We operationalize interest in and association with third places and arts spaces
by the website activity geographically based in U.S. ZIP codes. Initially
developed for marketing analytics, these data are derived by several
proprietary algorithms that create consumer profiles based on a person’s
purchase interests, hobbies, activities or topical preferences as expressed by
web activity.
Controlling for regional interest in entrepreneurship related web resources,
we find that interest in third places and art spaces can explain more than half
of the variation in regional business formation. Establishing that regions with
a high concentration of consumer interest in third places and art spaces may
attract the attention of would be entrepreneurs as desirable places to live, work
and explore business opportunities may help address the critical missing
ingredient in regions with lower rates of start-ups and business growth.

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