Edited by Gordon E. Shockley, Peter M. Frank and Roger R. Stough
Chapter 8: Policy Entrepreneurship: Reconceptualizing Entrepreneurship in Public Affairs
8. Policy entrepreneurship: reconceptualizing entrepreneurship in public aﬀairs Gordon E. Shockley INTRODUCTION Through the middle two quarters of the twentieth century, Ludwig von Mises, Israel Kirzner, and Joseph Schumpeter conceived of the pair of insights that partially form the basis of what might be called the ‘classical view’1 of entrepreneurship in economics. Mises conceived of and Kirzner developed the ﬁrst insight of the classical view of entrepreneurship: ‘the ubiquity of entrepreneurship in all human endeavors’. At mid-century, Mises, who along with Nobel laureate Friedrich Hayek are commonly acknowledged as the two most prominent economists in the Austrian School of Economics, placed entrepreneurial activity front and center in his general conception of human action. Mises writes in his magnum opus Human Action ( 1996), ‘[Entrepreneurship] is not the particular feature of a special group or class of men; it is inherent in every action and burdens every actor’ (pp. 252–3). Misesian entrepreneurship thus holds that entrepreneurship is a universalistic key to comprehending all human action because of, in Mises’ words, ‘the uncertainty inherent in every action’ (p. 253). Twenty-ﬁve years later, Israel Kirzner, widely regarded as Mises’ most important student and successor in the Austrian School, deliberately extended and reﬁned the universalism of Misesian entrepreneurship. Kirzner argues in his seminal work Competition and Entrepreneurship (1973), ‘there is present in all human action an element which, although crucial to economizing activity in general, cannot itself be analyzed in terms of economizing, maximizing, or eﬃciency criteria’ (p. 31)...
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