Systemic Linkages Between Knowledge and the Market
New Horizons in the Economics of Innovation series
Edited by Blandine Laperche, Dimitri Uzunidis and G. N. von Tunzelmann
Chapter 9: The Entrepreneur’s ‘Resource Potential’, Innovation and Networks
Sophie Boutillier, Blandine Laperche and Dimitri Uzunidis 1. INTRODUCTION In the current so-called ‘knowledge economy’, innovation is considered as the engine of economic growth (Romer 1990; Aghion and Howitt 1998; Audretsch 2006). For most of the second half of the 20th century the large ﬁrm was considered as being at the origin of innovation (thanks to its ability to gather large amounts of resources). However, since the 1980s, the entrepreneur has made his/her comeback at the forefront of the economic and political scene. What is the exact role of the entrepreneur and how does he/she succeed in the innovation process, which still – and perhaps, because of its rapid pace, more than ever – requires the gathering of large amounts of ﬁnance, competencies and information? To answer this question, we ﬁrstly and principally refer to the work of several economists, especially J.A. Schumpeter (1883-1950), who can be considered as a precursor in the analysis of entrepreneurship linked to the innovation process. The entrepreneur is the one who disturbs the neoclassical equilibrium by executing new combinations in the means of production (Schumpeter  2006), who puts the economy on the path of motion and development (Schumpeter 1939), but also the one who, by his extinction, accounts for the self-destruction of capitalism (Schumpeter  1975). The entrepreneur, the ﬁrst hero of economists according to Schumpeter, is incontestably Schumpeter’s own hero. But the hero is an elusive one: being an entrepreneur is not a profession but a function according to Schumpeter, and thus entrepreneurs have...
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