As the authors of the GEM report explain, a country’s economic development level matters. In poor countries, a much larger fraction of the non-entrepreneur population intends to start businesses in the future. This pattern is consistent with an argument that I and others have made elsewhere. As countries get richer, the opportunity cost of starting a business rises, reducing the fraction of the population that wants to be self-employed.
While that argument might account for the much higher level of entrepreneurial intentions in Uganda than Japan, it doesn’t explain why 13 percent of non-entrepreneurs in the United States intend to start businesses in the next three years, while only 2 percent in Japan do, or why such a small fraction of Russians plans to start a business in the coming years.
Another factor the article noted is that entrepreneurial ambition was higher in countries where such activity was seen as a “good choice.”