My pal Steve reminded me of his thought-provoking post he made a while back asking the question “Why Hasn’t Europe Caught Up?”
Gallup may have a partial answer in this report issued in 2007.
The results echo what the class concluded in an Economics course I took years ago. The overarching topic was an evaluation of the root cause(s) of America’s economic success. Natural resources featured prominently, as did solid infrastructure (transcontinental railroad, etc.) But those factors don’t explain very well why Europe lags today.
The conclusion we reached after 10 weeks (with the helpful hand of the professor) was that the key to our success was that as a nation of immigrants, our population had an unusually high proportion of risk-takers. The thinking was that those who would uproot from everything they knew and loved to forge out to new opportunities, were also more inclined to be entrepreneurial. This mindset endures apparently.
These from the Gallup report:
“When it comes to a choice between being employed or self-employed, Europeans still prefer the former, while across the Atlantic, the entrepreneurial urge still predominates. In fact, there has been a slight decrease in the gap between the EU25 and the United States, with 3% more Americans (up from 34% in 2004) now preferring to be employed. However, the percentage of Americans wanting to do their own thing (61%) is still higher than in any of the other 27 countries under review (see Chart 1 and the Annex Tables for answers to Q.1).”