4.6.17 Entrepreneurship (INV301)


The entrepreneur is a factor in microeconomics, and the study of entrepreneurship reaches back to the work of Richard Cantillon and Adam Smith in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, but was largely ignored theoretically until the late 19th and early 20th centuries and empirically until a profound resurgence in business and economics in the last 40 years.

In the 20th century, the understanding of entrepreneurship owes much to the work of economist Joseph Schumpeter in the 1930s and other Austrian economists such as Carl MengerLudwig von Mises and Friedrich von Hayek. In Schumpeter, an entrepreneur is a person who is willing and able to convert a new idea or invention into a successful innovation.[5] Entrepreneurship employs what Schumpeter called "the gale of creative destruction" to replace in whole or in part inferior innovations across markets and industries, simultaneously creating new products including new business models. In this way, creative destruction is largely responsible for the dynamism of industries and long-run economic growth. The supposition that entrepreneurship leads to economic growth is an interpretation of the residual in endogenous growth theory and as such is hotly debated in academic economics. An alternate description posited by Israel Kirzner suggests that the majority of innovations may be much more incremental improvements such as the replacement of paper with plastic in the construction of a drinking straw.

For Schumpeter, entrepreneurship resulted in new industries but also in new combinations of currently existing inputs. Schumpeter's initial example of this was the combination of a steam engine and then current wagon making technologies to produce the horseless carriage. In this case the innovation, the car, was transformational but did not require the development of a new technology, merely the application of existing technologies in a novel manner. It did not immediately replace the horsedrawn carriage, but in time, incremental improvements which reduced the cost and improved the technology led to the complete practical replacement of beast drawn vehicles in modern transportation. Despite Schumpeter's early 20th-century contributions, traditional microeconomic theory did not formally consider the entrepreneur in its theoretical frameworks (instead assuming that resources would find each other through a price system). In this treatment the entrepreneur was an implied but unspecified actor, but it is consistent with the concept of the entrepreneur being the agent of x-efficiency.

Different scholars have described entrepreneurs as, among other things, bearing risk. For Schumpeter, the entrepreneur did not bear risk: the capitalist did.

For Frank H. Knight [6] (1921) and Peter Drucker (1970) entrepreneurship is about taking risk. The behavior of the entrepreneur reflects a kind of person willing to put his or her career and financial security on the line and take risks in the name of an idea, spending much time as well as capital on an uncertain venture. Knight classified three types of uncertainty.

  • Risk, which is measurable statistically (such as the probability of drawing a red color ball from a jar containing 5 red balls and 5 white balls).
  • Ambiguity, which is hard to measure statistically (such as the probability of drawing a red ball from a jar containing 5 red balls but with an unknown number of white balls).
  • True Uncertainty or Knightian Uncertainty, which is impossible to estimate or predict statistically (such as the probability of drawing a red ball from a jar whose number of red balls is unknown as well as the number of other colored balls).

The acts of entrepreneurship are often associated with true uncertainty, particularly when it involves bringing something really novel to the world, whose market never exists. However, even if a market already exists, there is no guarantee that a market exists for a particular new player in the cola category.

The place of the disharmony-creating and idiosyncratic entrepreneur in traditional economic theory (which describes many efficiency-based ratios assuming uniform outputs) presents theoretic quandaries. William Baumol has added greatly to this area of economic theory and was recently honored for it at the 2006 annual meeting of the American Economic Association.[7]

The entrepreneur is widely regarded as an integral player in the business culture of American life, and particularly as an engine for job creation and economic growth. Robert Sobel published The Entrepreneurs: Explorations Within the American Business Tradition in 1974. Zoltan Acs and David Audretsch have produced an edited volume surveying Entrepreneurship as an academic field of research,[8] and more than a hundred scholars around the world track entrepreneurial activity, policy and social influences as part of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM)[9] and its associated reports.

Reference: wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entrepreneurship



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