Edited by David B. Audretsch, Isabel Grilo and A. Roy Thurik
Chapter 7: Public Policy and Entrepreneurship
* Albert N. Link Introduction Hébert and Link’s (1988, 1989) studies of the history of economic thought on the evolution of the concept of the entrepreneur concluded with the following synthesis (1988, p. 155): [The entrepreneur is] someone who specializes in taking responsibility for and making judgemental decisions that aﬀect the location, the form, and the use of goods, resources, or institutions. This perception and subsequent action, in a dynamic or multi-period context, is entrepreneurship. The Hébert and Link synthesis incorporates the ideas of risk, uncertainty, innovation, perception and change. Stated alternatively, the entrepreneur has diﬀerentiated abilities that allow him or her, within an environment of risk and uncertainty, to perceive opportunities and have the ability to act on them. In a sense, then, the entrepreneur may be said to ‘perceive what normal people of lesser alertness and perceptiveness, would fail to notice’ (Machlup, 1980, p. 179), and, in a dynamic context, ‘creative and imaginative action [will] shape the kind of transactions that will be entered into in future market periods’ (Kirzner, 1985, pp. 63–4). Can public policy enrich environments in which individuals grasp knowledge that might otherwise go unexploited? In this chapter I argue that the answer to this question is deﬁnitely, ‘yes’, especially as related to innovation. There are a number of public policies in the United States that, to varying degrees, provide resources that extend opportunities for perception and action, especially as related to innovative behavior. These include, but certainly are not...
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