Policies aiming at promoting entrepreneurship are in general formed on national levels, without any consideration of differences between urban and rural areas. Usually, cities are provided with better and more modern infrastructure; cities have better supply of physical, financial and human capital, and connected services, and cities have a more modern industrial structure in the sense that their shares of growing industry are higher. Thus, it is possible that policies for entrepreneurship, which in general are designed for urban areas, might be less effective when they are implemented in rural areas. A first step to test the validity of this hypothesis could be to investigate the differences between cities and countryside regarding self-employment propensity and factors affecting the choice to become self-employed. Based on an exceptionally rich data set containing very detailed socio-economic and geographical information on all residents in Sweden, this paper examines: (a) the scope and structure of self-employment propensity in urban and rural areas, respectively, in Sweden, divided into full-time and part-time self-employment, and (b) the importance of a number of attributes that may have an impact on individuals' propensity to start an enterprise in the two area types. Variables being tested are connected to demography and education, labor market status, plant characteristics, self-employment experience, financial resources, family links and regional attributes. The main results indicate that self-employment entry is influenced by the same factors in the same way in urban and rural areas. However, countryside's industrial structure has a smaller share of growing industries. The fact that countryside's startups follow the existing industrial structure means that this "modernity gap" between densely built up areas and countryside remains. From a policy perspective, this must be seen as a serious problem for countryside's growth potential. This gives an argument for designing a special entrepreneurship policy for the countryside in order to increase its share of growing trades and thereby modernize its industrial structure.
New York: Springer-Verlag New York, 2013. Vol. 50, no 2, 479-514 p.