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In this study, we examine how social benefit systems (public and private social expenditure) may influence entrepreneurial intentions, and how it may moderate the relationship between fear of failure and entrepreneurial intentions. Our cross-level model of 97,012 people from 32 countries demonstrates that individuals in countries with high levels of public social expenditure are less likely to show entrepreneurial intentions because they compare and contrast the safety net provided by social systems versus risk associated with starting a business. In addition, the results show that higher levels of private social spending weaken the negative impact of fear of failure on entrepreneurial intentions.