The stigmatization of bankrupt entrepreneurs in Dutch newspapers

Ingrid Wakkee, Frank Dorrestein, Paula Englis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We examine to what extent bankrupt entrepreneurs are stigmatized in the mass media. Based on a decade of newspaper articles, we show that while overall the level of stigmatization is lower than expected based on popular belief, stigmatization increases in the years with many bankruptcies, and in the months following a prominent bankruptcy. These differences are caused by the distinctions made by journalists between entrepreneurs in charge of large and small firms respectively as villains responsible for the bankruptcy and its consequences, or as hard-working victims of the system. Findings are explained in terms of experienced peril and cultural factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-391
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


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