Previous military experience and entrepreneurship toward poverty reduction: evidence from China

Zuhui Xu, Bin Li, Zhiyang Liu, Jie Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Purpose – Research on entrepreneurship toward poverty reduction has outlined how micro-level characteristics of entrepreneurs capture entrepreneurial opportunities in settings of poverty; however, little is known about the influence of previous military experience in this context. This paper investigates how previous military experience influences poverty-reduction entrepreneurship.
Design/methodology/approach – This study uses data from two main sources. First, individual-level and firm-level information comes from a nationwide survey of founders of private enterprises. Second, province-level information is taken from the Marketization Index and the China Statistics Yearbook. An analysis of the Logit moderation model renders strong support for our conjectures.
Findings – Via novel integration of imprinting theory and research on previous military experience, we propose that entrepreneurs with previous military experience have a strong sense of self-sacrifice and, as a result, are better able to participate in poverty reduction entrepreneurship. In addition, we build on the resource availability and stakeholder expectations arguments and predict that the main effect of previous military experience on poverty-reduction entrepreneurship will be strengthened by reduced corporate philanthropy and increased government intervention.
Originality/value – Our study adds to the extant literature in the following ways. First, it enriches the literature on entrepreneurship toward poverty reduction. Second, it contributes to imprinting theory in the entrepreneurial field. Third, it adds knowledge to the social entrepreneurship literature.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalManagement Decision
Early online date2 Jul 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Jul 2021


  • Previous military experience
  • poverty-reduction entrepreneurship
  • government intervention
  • imprinting theory
  • Chinese context
  • Imprinting theory
  • Poverty-reduction entrepreneurship
  • Corporate philanthropy
  • Government intervention


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