Chapter 5: Constructing Entrepreneurial Opportunity: Environmental Movements and the Transformation of Regional Regulatory Regimes
Brandon Lee and Wesley Sine* 1. INTRODUCTION Past research on the geographic distribution of economic activity has focused primarily on specifying the conditions that sustain economic clusters rather than explaining regional variance in the conditions (that is, opportunities) that facilitate the emergence of new economic forms. Therefore, to understand when and where entrepreneurial opportunity exists, ‘theory must explain how information and resources for entrepreneurial activity come to be disproportionately massed in some places and at some times’ (Romanelli and Schoonhoven, 2001: 41). Economic geographers have begun to address this question by focusing attention on institutional geography – those social, political and cultural–contextual elements that ‘enable, constrain, and refract economic development in spatially diﬀerentiated ways’ (Martin, 2000: 79). In this chapter, we advance the institutional geography agenda by investigating how diﬀerences in regional collective action aﬀect state regulatory regimes and hence, opportunities for economic activity. Recent developments in organization theory that integrate social movement theory into accounts of the emergence, change and decline of institutions (Davis and Thompson, 1994; Fligstein, 1996; Rao et al., 2000; Davis et al., 2005) provide a fruitful avenue for understanding variation in the creation and existence of regional entrepreneurial opportunity. Research in both entrepreneurship and economic geography has largely neglected the role that social movements play in generating new opportunities for entrepreneurs. While a substantial body of work has outlined how the characteristics of regions impact economic and entrepreneurial activity (Weber, 1909; Marshall, 1922; Harris, 1954; Arrow, 1962; Piore and Sabel, 1984; Romer,...
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