Edited by Ron Boschma and Ron Martin
Chapter 6: Entrepreneurship, Evolution and Geography
Erik Stam 1. Introduction Entrepreneurship is a fundamental driver of economic evolution. It is also a distinctly spatially uneven process, and thus an important explanation of the uneven economic development of regions and nations. Not surprisingly, entrepreneurship is a key element of evolutionary economics (Grebel, 2004; Grebel et al., 2003; Metcalfe, 2004; Schumpeter, 1934; Witt, 1998) and has been recognized as an important element in explaining (regional) economic development (Acs and Armington, 2004; Audretsch et al., 2006; Fritsch, 2008). This means that the explanation of regional variations in entrepreneurship has also become an important issue. Even more so because there are pronounced differences within and between nations in rates of entrepreneurship and in their determinants (Bosma and Schutjens, 2008), and these differences tend to be persistent over time, reflecting path dependence in industry structure (Brenner and Fornahl, 2008), institutions (Casper, 2007) and culture (Saxenian, 1994) that vary widely across regions and countries, but are relatively inert over time. Introducing entrepreneurship into evolutionary economic geography means that the traditional focus on firms is complemented with a focus on individuals. This chapter is an enquiry into the role of entrepreneurship in evolutionary economic geography. The focus is on how and why entrepreneurship is a distinctly spatially uneven process. We start with a discussion on the role of entrepreneurship in the theory of economic evolution. Next, we review the empirical literature on the geography of entrepreneurship. The chapter concludes with a discussion of a future agenda for the study of entrepreneurship within evolutionary...
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