Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy

Emerald Group Publishing Limited
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  • Microfinance, entrepreneurship and institutional quality

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to consider the success and failure of microfinance institutions in generating economic growth over the past 30 years and propose a dual criterion of evaluation. Design/methodology/approach: It surveys the empirical literature on microfinance and finds that while there has been small and localized success in various countries in improving access to credit, at the same time there has been a broader failure to generate economic growth. The authors argue that this broader failure should be viewed from the viewpoint of institutional failure or the lack of supporting institutions such as private property rights and stable rule of law within developing countries. Findings: Using Baumol’s (1968) theory of entrepreneurship, the authors argue that the broader failure of microfinance is a case of poor institutional quality leading to unproductive or even destructive entrepreneurship rather than productive entrepreneurship. The paper also suggests a link between the literature criticizing foreign aid and this view on microfinance. Originality/value: The paper provides a survey of the empirical literature on micro finance as well as a novel framework that aids in understanding both the localized small-scale success as well as broader failure to generate economic growth.

  • Entrepreneurial skill-building in rural ecosystems. A framework for applying the Readiness Inventory for Successful Entrepreneurship (RISE)

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to argue that defining, measuring and developing skills are crucial to successful entrepreneurship and that being able to do so can help to build strong rural entrepreneurial ecosystems. Design/methodology/approach: The literature on entrepreneurship success and entrepreneurial skills is reviewed, and this knowledge is used to create and describe the Entrepreneurship Skill-building Framework (ESBF), which provides a scaffold for thinking about the identification, measurement and development of essential entrepreneurship skills. The same literature is used to develop a tool for effectuating the ESBF, called the Readiness Inventory for Successful Entrepreneurship (RISE), which assesses entrepreneurship skills using the communimetrics theory of measurement. Findings: Both the ESBF and the RISE are detailed, and they are applied to the successful development and maintenance of rural entrepreneurial ecosystems, with an example from practice. Specific implications for rural entrepreneurship-focused economic development are also discussed. Originality/value: The ESBF represents a new way of framing entrepreneurship skills and their development. The RISE is a skills assessment tool that is clinical, not predictive, utilizing an innovative theory of measurement. Together, they offer a fresh approach to thinking about the purpose and effective implementation of entrepreneurial ecosystems.

  • Effectiveness of tax reform on entrepreneurship

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effects of tax reform on entrepreneurship in South Africa using repeated cross-sectional data from the World Bank. Design/methodology/approach: The paper adopts a difference-in-difference estimation technique as well as contrasting periods before and after the tax reform. This contrast is achieved by examining individuals in the formal and informal sector and measuring the effectiveness of the reform on self-employment. Findings: The results indicate that the tax reform had a positive and significant effect on the probability of becoming self-employed in South Africa and is robust across different econometric specifications. Originality/value: The authors use individual-level data to measure the effectiveness of a tax reform policy on entrepreneurship. Utilizing the South African post-Apartheid tax reform as a natural experiment allows the authors to identify the effects of taxes on the choice of becoming self-employed.

  • An academic perspective on the entrepreneurship policy agenda: themes, geographies and evolution

    Purpose: Academic research into entrepreneurship policy is particularly interesting due to the increasing relevance of the topic and since knowledge about the evolution of themes in this field is still rather limited. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the key concepts, topics, trends and shifts that have shaped the entrepreneurship policy research agenda during the period 1990–2016. Design/methodology/approach: This paper uses text mining techniques, cluster analysis and complementary bibliographic data to examine the evolution of a corpus of 1,048 academic papers focused on entrepreneurship-related policies and published during the period 1990–2016 in ten relevant journals. In particular, the paper follows a standard text mining workflow: first, as text is unstructured, content requires a set of pre-processing tasks and then a stemming process. Then, the paper examines the most repeated concepts within the corpus, considering the whole period 1990–2016 and also in five-year terms. Finally, the paper conducts a k-means clustering to divide the collection of documents into coherent groups with similar content. The analyses in the paper also include geographical particularities considering three regional sub-corpora, distinguishing those articles authored in the European Union (EU), the USA and South and Eastern Asia, respectively. Findings: Results of the analysis show that inclusion, employment and regulation-related papers have largely dominated the research in the field, evolving from an initial classical approach to the relationship between entrepreneurship and employment to a wider, multidisciplinary perspective, including the relevance of management, geographies and narrower topics such as agglomeration economics or internationalisation instead of the previous generic sectorial approaches. The text mining analysis also reveals how entrepreneurship policy research has gained increasing attention and has become both more open, with a growing cooperation among researchers from different affiliations, and more sophisticated, with concepts and themes that moved the research agenda forward, closer to the priorities of policy implementation. Research limitations/implications: The paper identifies main trends and research gaps in the field of entrepreneurship policy providing actionable knowledge by presenting the spectrum of both over-explored and understudied research themes in the field. In practical terms the results of the text mining analysis can be interpreted as a compass to navigate the entrepreneurship policy research agenda. Practical implications: The paper presents the heterogeneity of topics under research in the field, reinforcing the concept of entrepreneurship as a multidisciplinary and dynamic domain. Therefore, the definition and adoption of a certain policy agenda in entrepreneurship should consider multiple aspects (needs, objectives, stakeholders, expected outputs, etc.) to be comprehensive and aligned with its complexity. In addition, the paper shows how text mining techniques could be used to map the research activity in a particular field, contributing to the challenge of linking research and policy. Originality/value: The exploratory nature of text mining allows us to obtain new knowledge and reveals hidden patterns from large quantities of documents/text data, representing an opportunity to complement other qualitative reviews. In this sense, the main value of this paper is not to advise on the future configuration of entrepreneurship policy as a research topic, but to unwrap the past by unveiling how key themes of the entrepreneurship policy research agenda have emerged, evolved and/or declined over time as a foundation on which to build further developments.

  • Entrepreneurs. Guarantors of a constitutional democracy based on an ethic of individual property rights?

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to consider if self-employed entrepreneurs, a class of individuals who require enforceable property rights to create new firms and ideas that could increase a society’s material living standards, constitute an individual property rights enforcement mechanism. Design/methodology/approach: With data from the General Social Survey, the authors estimate the parameters of mixed-effects categorical regression specifications to measure the effect of self-employment on confidence in the US Supreme Court, raising and donating funds for social or political activities, and on trying to persuade others to share political views. Findings: The findings suggest that self-employed entrepreneurs are one of the guarantors of a constitutional democracy based on an ethic of individual property rights, and public policies that are pro-entrepreneurship help mitigate the risk of constitutional failure, and maximize society’s material living and ethical standards. Research limitations/implications: The results are based on cross-sectional data, which do not account for dynamic changes in preferences. Practical implications: The findings suggest that self-employed entrepreneurs are a enforcement mechanism and a guarantor of an ethic of private property rights necessary for the ongoing success and viability of a constitutional democracy based on individual property rights. Social implications: The findings suggest that as entrepreneurs constitute an enforcement mechanism for individual property rights, to the extent that entrepreneurialism also cultivates individual virtue entrepreneurs also serve as guarantors of a moral and ethical society that is based on virtue, which results in a constitutional democracy with high material living and ethical/moral standards. Originality/value: This paper is among the first to empirically test whether entrepreneurs are an enforcement mechanism for individual property rights.

  • Public sector entrepreneurship in South Africa

    Purpose: Many unanswered questions remain regarding the authors’ understanding of how entrepreneurship can be fostered in the public sector. To fill this knowledge gap, the purpose of this paper is to conduct an empirical investigation to determine the relationship between different organisational factors and entrepreneurial orientation (EO) in the South African public sector. Design/methodology/approach: Primary data are sourced from middle-level managers at municipalities in the three largest provinces across South Africa. Hypotheses are statistically tested using regression analyses. Findings: Results reveal that the organisational antecedents of structure and culture explain a significant amount of variation in the EO dimensions of innovativeness, risk taking and proactiveness. Additionally, the findings on organisational rewards converge with an emerging stream of research which highlights that while rewards works well to motivate individuals in the private sector, they are negatively correlated with entrepreneurship in the public sector. Research limitations/implications: The study implications relate to the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery of municipalities in South Africa. Due to increases in community protest actions, it is necessary not only to maximise efficiency in the provision of services, but also to innovate and be proactive in order to achieve more with less resources. Originality/value: By investigating previously unrelated factors in the public sector, the authors create closer conceptual and empirical links between the role of organisational factors and each of the EO dimensions. Furthermore, the study takes place in a relatively under-researched entrepreneurship and public sector context.

  • Creativity in a theory of entrepreneurship

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to integrate a detailed theory of perception and action with a theory of entrepreneurship. It considers how new knowledge is developed by entrepreneurs and how the level of creativity is regulated by a competitive system. It also shows how new knowledge may create value for the innovator as well as for other entrepreneurs in the system. Design/methodology/approach: The theory builds on existing literature on creativity and entrepreneurship. It considers how transformation of mental technologies occurs at the individual and system levels, and how this transformation influences value creation. Findings: Under a competitive system, the level of creativity is regulated by the need for new ways of doing things. Periods of crisis wherein old means of coordination begin to fail often precipitate an increase in creativity, whereas a lack of crisis often allows the system to settle to a stable equilibrium with lower levels of creativity. Research limitations/implications: The combination of methodology and methods facilitates a description of discrete building blocks that guide perception and enable creativity. This framing enables consideration of how a changing set of knowledge interacts with a system of prices. Practical implications: Policy makers must take care not to encumber markets with costs that unnecessarily constrain creativity, as experimentation makes the economic system robust to shocks. Social implications: This work provides a framing of cognition that allows for a linking of agent understanding that permits explicit description of coordination between agents. It relates perception and ends of the individual to constraints enforced by the social system. Originality/value: As far as the author is concerned, no other work ties together a robust framing of cognition with computational simulation of market processes. This research deepens understanding in multiple fields, most prominently for agent-based modeling and entrepreneurship.

  • FDA-CMS Parallel Review – a failed attempt at spurring innovation

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to analyze the Parallel Review program that offers simultaneous review of the Food and Drug Administration premarket approval submissions and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) national coverage determinations (NCDs) of medical devices. Design/methodology/approach: The paper analyzes the impact of Parallel Review on medical device innovation, focusing in particular on the causes for low popularity of the program among medical device manufacturers. Program outcomes are evaluated in the light of its intended goals. Findings: The paper identifies four reasons for the program’s limited impact. First, few devices are eligible to participate. Second, most manufacturers prefer to seek Medicare reimbursement at the local level as less risky than the CMS NCDs. Third, participation in the Parallel Review might actually delay the marketing of the device. Fourth, the program does not address numerous obstacles that device sponsors currently encounter. While giving the appearance of support for the medical device innovation, the policy falls short on its intended goals. Originality/value: This paper elucidates the challenges to internal reform and serves as a reminder to political economists and health care researchers that to make disruptive innovation possible, we must continue to illuminate the otherwise unseen cost of marketing delays and document the ability of emergent market mechanisms to protect consumer safety.

  • On the effectiveness of state tax and expenditure policies to encourage entrepreneurship

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to expand the empirical literature on state tax and expenditure policies and entrepreneurial activity in several meaningful ways. Design/methodology/approach: The authors update the panel data to include several more recent years and also consider other elements of state policy. Findings: The most important takeaway is that even after dealing with some of the known shortcomings of dynamic panel analysis, we are still not able to find economically meaningful impacts of state tax and expenditure policies (generally defined) on entrepreneurial performance. Research limitations/implications: Earlier studies that have found statistical significance have generally been limited to extensive-margin impacts on such things as self-employment rates or counts of new or small firms. When the authors examine what policy makers actually care about – things like income and employment among entrepreneurial ventures – the authors do not find much in the way of useful policy impacts. Practical implications: To be sure, the authors find entrepreneurial performance to be statistically significantly related to certain tax rates and expenditure amounts, but the magnitudes of our estimated results cast serious doubts on the usefulness of these particular policy levers for generating meaningful improvements in entrepreneurial success. Originality/value: The authors’ primary contribution is to improve the empirical consideration of the time series properties of the data. The authors provide a battery of more general and robust analyses to more completely surround the question.

  • Creativity, innovation, and the historicity of entrepreneurship

    Purpose: Creativity and innovation are interrelated, and indeed often conflated, concepts. A corollary to this distinction is two different perspectives or types of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs. The purpose of this paper is to explore the distinction between creativity and innovation on the basis of their relationship to history and implications for understandings of entrepreneurship. Design/methodology/approach: This paper is a theoretical exploration of entrepreneurship understood in relation to a proper distinction between creativity and innovation. Creativity and innovation differ from the perspective of their relationship to what has already happened in history vs the radical novelty of a particular discovery or invention. Findings: Creativity can be understood as what human beings do in connection with the fundamental givenness of things. Innovation, on the other hand, can be best understood as a phenomenon related to the historical progress of humankind. Innovation is what human beings discover on the basis of what has already been discovered. Entrepreneurs can be seen as those who discover something radically new and hidden in the latent possibilities of reality and creation. Or entrepreneurs can be seen as those who develop new, and even epochal, discoveries primarily on the basis of the insights and discoveries of those who have come before them in history. Originality/value: This paper provides a helpful conceptual distinction between creativity and innovation, and finds compatibility in these different perspectives. A holistic and comprehensive understanding of entrepreneurship embraces both its creative and innovative aspects, its metaphysical grounding as well as its historicity.

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