National and Regional Perspectives
Edited by Michael Fritsch
Chapter 8: Inadvertent Infrastructure and Regional Entrepreneurship Policy
Maryann P. Feldman, Lauren Lanahan and Jennifer M. Miller1 INTRODUCTION Policies to promote entrepreneurship have become increasingly common as an economic growth strategy. Formally defined as government initiatives that influence the formation, viability, and commercial success of new firms, entrepreneurship policy is particularly relevant at the regional or subnational level given that entrepreneurs tend not to relocate when starting their firms. Yet local governments must rely on national governments to manage a wide array of macroeconomic and other broad-scale factors. Actions at the national level can have inadvertent consequences at the regional level. Tension often arises between federal preemption in the regulation of commerce and direction of national science and technology policy and the need for regionally calibrated policies (Feller, 1992; Spence and Murray, 1999). These inadvertent consequences become even more evident over time as economies in the developed world transform from large-scale, standardized, national manufacturing to a more flexible system of global competition, integrated value chains, and knowledge work. Legacy policies more appropriate for an older historical era can both directly and indirectly influence the strategies available for regional entrepreneurship in unexpected and surprising ways. The objective of this chapter is to consider entrepreneurship policy in a regional context.2 While evaluations exist for specific programs of initiatives that provide funding or incubator space, there are few attempts to consider the overarching theme of how public policy affects regional entrepreneurship. The US is a particularly fruitful environment to consider regional policy. The 50 states provide rich ‘laboratories of democracy’ where...
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