Monday, February 4, 2008

Schumpeter's view of entrepreneurship

Certainly does not accord with my naive view - i.e. as small business owners. In Schumpeter's world, entrpreneurs destroy old ideas/jobs while creating new ones - they engage in "creative destruction."

Entrepreneurship is very difficult to measure, and virtually impossible to express mathematically. It therefore does not easily fit into formal models. ... [Entrepreneurial gains] emerge whenever an individual entrepreneur innovates in some important way - and then disappear as the innovation spreads. Meanwhile, they have contributed to general economic growth. They have also made the entrepreneur rich. because entrepreneurs' gains will practically always bear some relation to monopolistic pricing. (Page 458 of Prophet of Innovation)

In Schumpeter's view, entrepreneurs do not bear risk - the credit sector bears risk by lending to the entrepreneur. This is in contrast to a lot models (e.g. Kihlstrom-Laffont) where entrepreneurs bear the risk.

Moreover, the entrepreneur's role in growth - creative destruction - seems to defy a simple definition. We know it when we see it though. The wikepedia entry attempts to do it but it's examples are more illuminating. Unfortunately, the lack of a definition means that one can argue over what constitutes creative destruction. For instance, is Wal-Mart's business and management practices an example of creative destruction? I'm on the yes side but reasonable people can disagree.

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