New Directions in Regional Economic Development
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New Directions in Regional Economic Development

The Role of Entrepreneurship Theory and Methods, Practice and Policy

Edited by Sameeksha Desai, Peter Nijkamp and Roger R. Stough

The introduction of endogenous growth theory has led to new interest in the role of the entrepreneur as an agent driving technical change at the local regional level. This book examines theoretical and methodological issues surrounding the interface of the entrepreneur in regional growth dynamics on the one hand and on the other presents illuminating case studies. In total the book’s contributions amplify understanding of such critical issues as the relationship between innovation and entrepreneurship, the entrepreneur’s role in transforming knowledge into something economically useful, and knowledge commercialization with both conceptual and empirical contributions.
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Chapter 2: The Entrepreneur in Economic Theory

Ronald W. McQuaid


Ronald W. McQuaid 2.1 INTRODUCTION Entrepreneurship has been seen as key to economic development in many countries across the globe for many years (OECD, 1998, 2003; UN, 2004). For instance, in the European Union’s Employment Strategies entrepreneurship has been given a major role in increasing the dynamism of economies and helping employment creation and improvement (CEC, 1999, 2005). However, there are a variety of meanings of the term ‘entrepreneurship’, which permeate and confuse the policy and theoretical debates. Indeed entrepreneurship is an elusive concept associated with a number of overlapping but distinct perspectives and meanings (Ahmed and McQuaid, 2005; Glancey and McQuaid, 2000). Sometimes the concept of entrepreneurship has been taken to mean: a new business start-up; an owner-manager of a small, micro or medium-sized enterprise (SMME); a function in the economy (such as resource allocation, risk-taking, ‘middleman’ or innovation); a form of behavior (with an entrepreneur being someone who purposefully and systematically searches and analyses change to identify and take the opportunities such changes might offer for economic or social innovation); a set of social or personal characteristics (such as being a great leader). Each of these perspectives has different implications for policies and for theory, yet the precise meaning or perspective on entrepreneurship is often not made explicit, as many writers implicitly combine more than one of these perspectives. Indeed, a more general theory of entrepreneurship might contain elements from all these perspectives, and regional economic development theory might include an explicit role for entrepreneurship grounded more in...

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