We examine the relationship, across 39 countries, between regulation and entrepreneurship using a new two-equation model. We find the minimum capital requirement required to start a business lowers entrepreneurship rates across countries, as do labour market regulations. However the administrative considerations of starting a business – such as the time, the cost, or the number of procedures required – are unrelated to the formation rate of either nascent or young businesses. Given the explicit link made by Djankov et al. [Djankov et al. 2002, ‹The Regulation of Entry’, Quarterly Journal of Economics 117(1), 1–37] between the speed and ease with which businesses may be established in a country and its economic performance – and the enthusiasm with which this link has been grasped by European Union policy makers – our findings imply this link needs reconsidering.