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Empirical research on international entrepreneurship is growing, but results on the role of family ownership in this phenomenon are inconsistent. We believe these inconsistencies owe to prior researchers having not yet investigated nonlinear relationships. Drawing on opposing perspectives of stewardship and stagnation, we explore potential benefits and drawbacks of family ownership for international entrepreneurship and explore nonlinear relationships among these two variables. Using a sample of 1,035 US family businesses and applying ordinal regression analysis, we find an inverted U-shaped relationship between family ownership and international entrepreneurship: International entrepreneurship is maximized when family ownership stands at moderate levels. We discuss the implications of our findings for theory and practice and indicate avenues for future research.

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