Thank you for visiting my website! I am Boris N. Nikolaev, Ph.D. I am an Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Hankamer School of Business, a Research Associate at the Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship & Free Enterprise, and Director of the McLane Scholars Program at Baylor University. Previously, I was an Assistant Professor of Economics at Oxford College of Emory University.

I received my undergraduate degree (Economics, Mathematics, and Philosophy) from Manchester College and my graduate degree from the University of South Florida (Economics and Business). Currently, my research and teaching are in the field of entrepreneurship where I study the links between socio-economic institutions, entrepreneurship, and well-being.

My research has been published in a variety of interdisciplinary journals including the Journal of Business Venturing, Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, Strategic Entrepreneurship JournalJournal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Small Business Economics, Economics of Education Review, Empirical Economics, KyklosJournal of Economic Psychology, Journal of Happiness Studies, and others. [researchgate profile] [google scholar].

I have taught a wide variety of courses—Entrepreneurship: Living & Learning [website], Accelerated Ventures Capstone, Principles of Micro and Macroeconomics [syllabus], and more advanced courses such as the History of Economic Thought, Happiness Economics, and Mathematical Economics. As part of Emory’s Research Scholars program, I worked one-on-one with students on individual research projects related to the study of well-being, which led to several publications. Several of my students later nominated me for Emory’s university-wide William H. Fox Award for Emerging Excellence in teaching, which I won in the spring of 2016. In the same semester, I also received Oxford’s Honors Award for my contribution to the development of the Oxford College’s honors program for which I created an interdisciplinary, inquiry-driven course on the Economics of Happiness with a study abroad component to Costa Rica [syllabus] [website] [before and after pictures] [Facebook group] [Honors Symposium pictures 2015 2016] [video Costa Rica]. This class quickly became the students’ favorite and was rated as one of Emory’s top 5 “coolest” classes.

I have previously received several other university-wide teaching and research awards and fellowships such as the Provost Award for Outstanding Teaching (USF), Dissertation Completion Fellowship (USF), Research Excellence Award (USF), the Humane Studies Fellowship (IHS), APEE Young Scholars Award (APEE), and others.

Outside of academia, I spend most of my time with my family, travel, take lots of pictures, play computer games with my kids (Zelda and Horizon Zero Dawn are our favorites), build stuff in my garage, and enjoy every opportunity to be outdoors. I am also a big soccer and football fan (Liverpool, Barcelona, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are my teams).

RESEARCH INTERESTS: Public Policy, Applied Microeconomics, Entrepreneurship, Mental Health & Well-being, Economic Development, New Institutional Economics



– Bennett, D. & Nikolaev, B. “Historical Prevalence of Infectious Diseases, Economic Institutions, and Global Entrepreneurship.” Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice (forthcoming) [download here]

– Bennett, D. and Nikolaev, B. “Individualism, Pro-Market Institutions, and National Innovation.” Small Business Economics (forthcoming) [download here]

– Nikolova, M., Nikolaev, B., Popova, O. “The Perceived Well-being and Health Costs of Exiting Self-Employment” Small Business Economics (forthcoming) [download here]

Nikolaev, B. and Bennett, D. “Rising Income Inequality and Economic Growth: Are Americans Better Off? Evidence from Subjective Well-being Data” Journal of Private Enterprise (forthcoming) [download here]


Nikolaev, B., Boudreaux, C. and Wood, M. “Entrepreneurship and subjective well-being: The mediating role of psychological capital” Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice (forthcoming) [download here]

Wiklund, J., Nikolaev, B., Foo, MD, Shir, N. and Bradley, S. “Entrepreneurship and well-being: Past, present, and future.”Journal of Business Venturing (forthcoming) [download here]

Nikolaev, B., Shir, N. and Wiklund, J. “Dispositional positive and negative affect and self-employment transitions: The mediating role of job satisfaction.” Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice (forthcoming) [download here]

Nikolaev, B. and Maldonado Bautista, I. “Personality Traits and Income Attainment of Self-Employed People—Accounting for Model Uncertainty” Journal of Business Venturing Insights (forthcoming) [download here]

– Bennett, D., and Nikolaev, B. (2019) “Economic Freedom, Public Policy and Entrepreneurship,” in Economic Freedom of the World Report. Edited by James Gwartney, Robert Lawson and Josh Hall [download here]

– Boudreaux, C., and Nikolaev, B. (2019) “Exploring gender differences in entrepreneurship: how the regulatory environment mitigates differences in early-stage growth aspirations,” in High-growth Women’s Entrepreneurship. Edited by Amanda Bullough, Diana Hechavarria, Candida Brush and Linda Edelman [download here]


Boudreaux, C., Nikolaev, B., and Klein, P. “Socio-cognitive traits and entrepreneurship: The moderating role of economic institutions.” Journal of Business Venturing (forthcoming) [download here]

Nikolova, M. and Nikolaev, B. “Family Matters: involuntary parental unemployment during childhood and subjective wellbeing later in life.” Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization (forthcoming) [download here]

Shir, N., Nikolaev, B., and Wincent, J. “Entrepreneurship and well-being: The role of psychological autonomy, competence, and relatedness.” Journal of Business Venturing (forthcoming) [download here] [Forbes article]

Boudreaux, C., and Nikolaev, B. “Capital is not enough: Opportunity Entrepreneurship and Formal Institutions” Small Business Economics, (forthcoming) [download here]

Nikolaev, B. and Wood, M. “Cascading Ripples: Contagion Effects of Entrepreneurial Activity on Self-Employment Attitudes and Choices in Regional Cohorts” Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 2018: 1-27 [download here]

Nikolaev, B., Boudreaux, C. and Palich, L. “Cross-Country Determinants of Early-Stage Necessity and Opportunity Entrepreneurship: Accounting for Model Uncertainty” Journal of Small Business Management, 2018 (56-S1): 243-280 [download here]

Boudreaux, C., and Nikolaev, B., and Holcombe, R. “Corruption and Non-Productive Entrepreneurship” Small Business Economics, 2018 (51): 181-202 [download here]

Nikolaev, B., Shir, N. and Wiklund, J.  “Dispositional Affect and Entry into Entrepreneurship: Evidence from Panel Data” Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research (forthcoming)


Boudreaux, C., Nikolaev, B., and Klein, P. “Entrepreneurial Traits, Formal Institutions, and the Motivation to Engage in Entrepreneurial Action” Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings (2017)

Nikolaev, B., Boudreaux, C., and Salahodjaev, R. “Are More Individualistic Societies Less Equal? Evidence from the Parasite-Stress Theory of Values” Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 2017 (138C): 30-49 [download here]

Nikolaev, B., and Salahodjaev, R. “Historical Prevalence of Infectious Diseases, Cultural Values, and the Origins of Economic Institutions.” Kyklos 2017 (70): 97-128 [download here]

Bennett, D. and Nikolaev, B. “Economic Freedom and Happiness Inequality — Friends or Foes?” Contemporary Economic Policy 2017 (35): 373-393 [download here]

Nikolaev, B. and Bennett, D. “Economic Freedom and Emotional Well-being.” Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy (2017) [download here]

Nikolaev, B., and Bradley, S. “Self-employment and job satisfaction: The Role of Higher Education.” Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research, 2017 (37: 3) Article 19.

Nikolaev, B. (2017) “The Economics of Happiness” O’ Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom.


Bennett, D., Nikolaev, B., and Aidt, T. “Institutions and Well-being.” European Journal of Political Economy 2016 (45) 1-10 [download here]

Nikolaev, B. “Does Higher Education Increase Hedonic and Eudaimonic Well-being?” Journal of Happiness Studies. 2016: 1-27 [download here]

Nikolaev, B. and Bennett, D. “Give Me Liberty and Give Me Control: Economic Freedom, Control Perceptions, and the Paradox of Choice.” European Journal of Political Economy 2016 (45) 39-52 [download here]

Nikolaev, B. “Does Other People’s Education Make Us Less Happy?” Economics of Education Review 52 (1) 2016: 176-191 [download here

Bennett, D., Nikolaev, B. “Factor Endowments, The Rule of Law & Structural Inequality: Testing the Engerman-Sokoloff Hypothesis.” Journal of Institutional Economics 2016: 1-23 [download here]

Bennett, D., Nikolaev, B. “On the Ambiguous Economic Freedom-Inequality Relationship.” Empirical Economics 2016: 1-38 [download here]

Nikolova, M. and Nikolaev, B. “Does Joining the EU Make You Happy?” Journal of Happiness Studies 2016: 1-31 [download here

Nikolaev, B., and Salahodjaev, R.  “The Role of Intelligence in the Distribution of National Happiness.” Intelligence. 56(1) 2016: 38-45 [download here]

Nikolaev, B., and McGee, J. “Relative Verbal Intelligence and Happiness.” Intelligence. 2016, 59: 1-7 [download here]


Nikolaev, B. “Living with Mom and Dad and Loving It…or Are You?” Journal of Economic Psychology. 51(1) December 2015: 199-205 [download here]

Nikolaev, B. and Rusakov, P. “Education and Happiness: An Alternative Hypothesis.” Applied Economics Letters. November 2015. DOI: 10.1080/13504851.2015.1111982 [download here]

Nikolaev, B. “Economic Freedom & Subjective Well-being,” in Economic Behavior, Economic Freedom, and Entrepreneurship. Edited by Richard Cebula, Joshua Hall, Franklin Mixon, and James Payne, editors. Edward Elgar Publishing, 2015: 178-193.


Nikolaev, B. and Burns, A. “Inter-generational Mobility and Subjective Well-being – Evidence from the General Social Survey.” Journal of Behavioral & Experimental Economics. 53 (1) 2014: 82-96 [download here]

Nikolaev, B. “Using Experiments and Media to Introduce Game Theory Into the Principles Classroom.” Journal of Private Enterprise. 29 (2) 2014: 149-160 [download here]

Nikolaev, B. “Economic Freedom and Quality of Life – Evidence from the OECD’s Your Better Life Index.” Journal of Private Enterprise. 29 (3) 2014: 1-31 [download here]


Hall, J., Nikolaev, B., Pulito, J. and vanMetre, B. “The Eff ect of Personal and Economic Freedom on Entrepreneurial Activity: Evidence from a New State-Level Freedom Index.” American Journal of Entrepreneurship. 6(1) 2013: 85-99