Edited by John Foster and Werner Hölzl
Chapter 7: An evolutionary approach to the theory of entrepreneurship
Thomas Grebel, Andreas Pyka and Horst Hanusch 1. INTRODUCTION Research on entrepreneurship has always been a controversial topic in economic theorizing. The signiﬁcance of entrepreneurship is emphasized by almost all authors working on innovation economics; nevertheless, most of the research work comes to an end at a purely appreciative level. Still, a consistent theory of entrepreneurship is missing – a theory that is adequate to combine the various strands of literature in order to arrive at an empirically testable model, eventually. Apart from the early theories that approach entrepreneurship from a rather intuitive perspective, tracing back to Schumpeter (1911, 1939) and Kirzner (1973, 1999), a modern evolutionary approach should also contain some speciﬁc theories such as the theory of human capital (for example Schlutz 1975, social networks, for example Granovetter 1973) and neo-Schumpeterian economics (for example Loasby 1999). In this chapter we develop an eclectic approach by designing an analytical model that can be applied to diﬀerent industries and historical settings. The core element of our model is the actors. Even though there are two opposing views that either explicitly focus on actors or take a more general approach in only emphasizing the actors’ environment, for our purposes we draw on the actor-centered perspective. Therefore, we do not look at actors from the perspective of situative determinism and optimal behavior, but we characterize individual actors as procedural rational, struggling in a trialand-error process for survival and prosperity. Consequently, in their entrepreneurial decision they do not know the potential...
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