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Global Entrepreneurship Monitor [GEM]: Adult Population Survey Data Set, 1998-2012 (ICPSR 20320)

Principal Investigator(s): Reynolds, Paul Davidson, Florida International University. Entrepreneurial Research Institute; Hechavarria, Diana, Florida International University. Entrepreneurial Research Institute


The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor [GEM] research program was developed to provide comparisons among countries related to participation of adults in the firm creation process. The initial data was assembled as a pretest of five countries in 1998 and by 2012 over 100 countries had been involved in the program. The initial design for the GEM initiative was based on the first US Panel Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics, and by 2012 data from 1,827,513 individuals had been gathered in 563 national samples and 6 specialized regional samples.

This dataset is a harmonized file capturing results from all of the surveys. The procedure has been to harmonize the basic items across all surveys in all years, followed by implementing a standardized transform to identify those active as nascent entrepreneurs in the start-up process, as owner-managers of new firms, or as owner-managers of established firms. Those identified as nascent entrepreneurs or new business owners are the basis for the Total Entrepreneurial Activity [TEA] or Total Early-Stage index. This harmonized, consolidated assessment not only facilitates comparisons across countries, but provides a basis for temporal comparisons for individual countries.

Respondents were queried on the following main topics: general entrepreneurship, start-up activities, ownership and management of the firm, and business angels (angel investors). Respondents were initially screened by way of a series of general questions pertaining to starting a business, such as whether they were currently trying to start a new business, whether they knew anyone who had started a new business, whether they thought it was a good time to start a new business, as well as their perceptions of the income potential and the prestige associated with starting a new business. Demographic variables include respondent age, sex, and employment status.

Access Notes

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Study Description


Reynolds, Paul Davidson, and Diana Hechavarria. Global Entrepreneurship Monitor [GEM]: Adult Population Survey Data Set, 1998-2012. ICPSR20320-v4. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2016-12-14. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR20320.v4

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR20320.v4

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Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    attitudes, business, business conditions, business ownership, entrepreneurs, investments, investors, occupations, perceptions, prestige, small businesses, startup companies

Smallest Geographic Unit:    Country

Geographic Coverage:    Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azores, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China (Peoples Republic), Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gaza Strip, Germany, Ghana, Global, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Maori, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Serbia, Shenzhen, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Wales, Yemen, Zambia

Time Period:   

  • 1998--2012

Date of Collection:   

  • 1998--2012

Unit of Observation:    individual

Universe:    Adult populations of 100 countries.

Data Type(s):    survey data

Data Collection Notes:

A related collection, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM): Expert Questionnaire Data, 1999-2003, is available as ICPSR 21862.

Additional information on the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor [GEM] can be found by visiting the GEM Web site.



Developing representative samples of adults was a two stage process. The first step involved a random selection of households leading to a contact with an adult resident. In countries where a high proportion of households have land line telephones, this was done by creating a random set of numbers considered to be household phone numbers. In countries with a high proportion of cell-phone only adults, this has been supplemented with random samples of active cell phone numbers. Numbers were then called, generally up to three times, until an adult respondent answered the phone. In countries with low proportion of households with phones, geographic areas were selected at random for personal contacts by interviewers, who then approached households for a face-to-face interview. In some developing countries phone interviews are conducted in the major urban areas supplemented with face-to-face interviews in rural regions.

Adults from each household were selected for interviews in one of two ways. In some cases it was the first adult contacted and in others a person would be randomly selected from those adults living in the household for the interview. In many developed countries there was a deliberate attempt, quota sampling, to complete half of all interviews with men and half with women.

For additional information on sampling, please refer to the Original P.I. Documentation section in the ICPSR Codebook.

Time Method:    Cross-sectional

Weight:    The data are not weighted, however, this collection contains three weight variables that should be used in any analysis: WEIGHT, WEIGHT_L, and WEIGHT_A. National survey vendors implemented weights that would match the annual cohorts with the best available national data, later adjusted by matching the sample to the U.S. Census Bureau International Data Base (IDB) on national population distributions by age and gender. For more information on weights and sampling please refer to the Original P.I. Documentation section in the ICPSR Codebook.

Mode of Data Collection:    computer-assisted personal interview (CAPI), computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI), face-to-face interview, paper and pencil interview (PAPI), telephone interview

Extent of Processing:   ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Created online analysis version with question text.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:   2007-10-30

Version History:

  • 2016-12-14 Data have been resupplied and now include survey data from 100 countries and cover the years 1998-2012. A computing error has also been corrected.
  • 2015-06-26 Data from survey years 2004 through 2010 have been added to the collection, and include an expansion in number of countries surveyed. Additionally, data and documentation from previous survey years have been revised.
  • 2009-05-13 Corrections have been made to the data and codebook regarding variable TEA_MOT (TEA index motivation).



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