Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Research Institute of Industrial Economics

No 761: Productive and Destructive Entrepreneurship in a Political Economy Framework

Robin Douhan and Magnus Henrekson ()
Additional contact information
Robin Douhan: Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN), Postal: P.O. Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden
Magnus Henrekson: Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN), Postal: P.O. Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: Recent research has highlighted the role of institutions in channeling entrepreneurs into activities with positive or negative effects on overall productivity. Embedding central elements from these theories into a political economy framework reveals the bilateral causal relation between entrepreneurs and institutions. Core features of the entrepreneur force us to view its effects on institutions as more than mechanic general equilibrium adjustments. Three analytically separate channels of influence are isolated, analyzed and exemplified. Entrepreneurs influence formal economic institutions through direct involvement in politics, by using their entrepreneurial talent to wield de facto political power and by altering the effect of formal institutions. We propose a parsimonious framework that incorporates these effects as well as the role of institutions in channeling entrepreneurial talent. We use examples from modern history as a real-world context to illustrate our framework.

Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Innovation; Institutions; Regulation; Self-employment

JEL-codes: L50; M13; O31; P14

23 pages, August 26, 2008

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