Edited by David B. Audretsch, Isabel Grilo and A. Roy Thurik
Chapter 6: Dressing the Emperor: The Fabric of Entrepreneurship Policy
Lois Stevenson and Anders Lundström Introduction Since the 1990s we have observed a noticeable shift in the policy orientation of governments in many countries towards encouraging and facilitating entrepreneurship. This has been largely a response to the rapidly changing economic and social environment: the acceleration of technological advancements, growing global competition, rise of the knowledge-based economy, economic and industrial restructuring, a higher level of acceptance of the importance of democratic values and private sector development and so on. Governments are increasingly focusing on entrepreneurship as a vehicle to address a range of problems including the need for employment generation, labour force integration, social cohesion, improvement in sector productivity and competitiveness, economic renewal, innovation, and wealth creation. Governments are at diﬀerent stages of adopting entrepreneurship policies and emphasize diﬀerent approaches and measures depending on the economic and social circumstances of the country and their perception of the role and importance of entrepreneurial activity in the economy. Because entrepreneurship policy is a recent phenomenon there is a limited research base on which governments can rely to make more informed policy decisions in the area. There is a lack of clarity concerning what actually constitutes entrepreneurship policy and much confusion about the scope and diﬀerentiating characteristics of entrepreneurship policy compared to the more developed area of small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) policy. Although there is widespread agreement that provisions bearing on business entry and exit dynamics are central to any eﬀective and focused strategy to create a favourable...
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