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Economics without Entrepreneurship or Institutions

PublicationArticle (with peer review)
Äganderätt, Dan Johansson, Ekonomisk frihet, Entreprenör, Företagandets villkor, Innovation, Institutionell ekonomi, Utbildning

Abstract

A teacher’s words reflect the theory and methods he uses. Words reveal theoretical structures, the problems identified as relevant, and how those problems should be analyzed. I investigate whether entrepreneurship-rich and institutions-rich theories are represented in Ph.D. programs in economics. I analyze textbooks for the presence of terms that fall naturally into two sets. One set deals with the knowledge and discovery: entrepreneur, innovation, invention, tacit knowledge, and bounded rationality. The other deals with social rules: institutions, property rights, and economic freedom. When the words appear I examine the meaning. I examine the textbooks used in required courses in microeconomics, macroeconomics and industrial organization in all Ph.D. programs in economics in Sweden. The investigation is not specific to Sweden, however, because Ph.D. programs in Sweden are virtually identical to programs in the United States. The same textbooks are used, and nearly all of the textbooks examined are written by economists in the United States. I find that (i) all programs are in the tradition of “mainstream” economics; (ii) by and large, the eight expressions scarcely appear in the textbooks; and (iii) when they do appear, their meaning is diluted or distorted, compared to their meaning in theories where the idea is more central. In my judgment, the results constitute powerful evidence that today’s doctoral programs do not train young economists to identify and analyze important economic issues in a relevant way.

Related content: Working Paper No. 58

Johansson, D. (2004). ”Economics without Entrepreneurship or Institutions: A Vocabulary Analysis of Graduate Textbooks.”Econ Journal Watch, 1(3): 515-538.


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Abstract

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Design/methodology/approach
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Originality/value
This paper contributes to existing literature by offering an empirical validation, as well as an in-depth understanding, of the sharing economy’s interlinkage to other economies, along with the extent to which the overlaps between these economies manifest in social media.

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Article (with peer review)Publication
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Publication year

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Abstract

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Working Paper no. 331: Bureaucrats or Markets in Innovation Policy? – A critique of the entrepreneurial state
Working paperPublication
Karlson, N., Sandström, C. & Wennberg, K.
Publication year

2020

Abstract

This paper takes stock of recent suggestions that the state apparatus is a central and underappreciated actor in the generation, diffusion and exploitation of innovations enhancing growth and social welfare. We contrast such a view of “the entrepreneurial state” with theories and empirical evidence of the microeconomic processes of innovation in the modern economy which focus on well-functioning markets, free entry and competition among firms, and independent entrepreneurship as central mechanisms in the creation and dissemination of innovations. In doing so, we identify several deficiencies in the notion of an entrepreneurial state by showing that (i) there is weak empirical support in the many hundreds empirical studies and related meta analyses evaluating the effectiveness of active industrial and innovative policies, that (ii) these policies do not take account of the presence of information and incentive problems which together explain why attempts to address purported market failures often result in policy failures, and that (iii) the exclusive focus on knowledge creation through R&D and different forms of firm subsidies ignores the equally important mechanisms of knowledge dissemination and creation through commercial exploitation in markets. We discuss how a more theoretically well-founded focus on the state as investing in knowledge generation and securing the conditions of free and competitive markets will lead to a more innovative economy.

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