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Assessing Private Enterprise: An Exegesis of Tangled Doctrine

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  • Richard R. Nelson

Abstract

This paper proposes that the twin theorems of welfare economics provide an insubstantial basis for the faith of many economists that private enterprise is a good way of organizing production. Most economists implicitly recognize this. A reading of the literature in advocacy of private enterprise suggests that administrative parsimony, responsiveness, and innovativeness often are ascribed as virtues of the enterprise form of economic organization. The argument that private enterprise has these virtues has, however, no basis in orthodox microeconomic theory. This essay is concerned with considering arguments for those alleged virtues, and sketching some of the theoretical and empirical questions that are opened when these are scrutinized.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by The RAND Corporation in its journal Bell Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 12 (1981)
Issue (Month): 1 (Spring)
Pages: 93-111

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Handle: RePEc:rje:bellje:v:12:y:1981:i:spring:p:93-111

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Cited by:
  1. Dolfsma, Wilfred, 2005. "Towards a dynamic (Schumpeterian) welfare economics," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 69-82, February.
  2. Christian Schubert, 2012. "Is novelty always a good thing? Towards an evolutionary welfare economics," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 585-619, July.
  3. Pelikan, Pavel, 1986. "How Do New Technologies Fare under Different Institutional Rules?," Working Paper Series 169, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  4. Stavros Ioannides, 2000. "Austrian Economics, Socialism and Impure Forms of Economic Organisation," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(1), pages 45-71.
  5. Christian Schubert, 2014. "“Generalized Darwinism” and the quest for an evolutionary theory of policy-making," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 479-513, July.
  6. Peter Murrell, 1991. "Can Neoclassical Economics Underpin the Reform of Centrally Planned Economies?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 59-76, Fall.
  7. repec:dgr:uvatin:2097109 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Pelikan, Pavel, 1985. "Private Enterprise vs. Government Control: An Organizationally Dynamic Comparison," Working Paper Series 137, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  9. Audretsch, D.B. & Thurik, A.R., 2000. "What's New About the New Economy? Sources of growth in the managed and entrepreneurial economies," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2000-45-STR, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
  10. Sahin, Izzet & Zahedi, Fatemeh (Mariam), 2000. "Optimal policies under risk for changing software systems based on customer satisfaction," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 123(1), pages 175-194, May.
  11. Radislav Jovovic, 2005. "The Distincs Differences Between Old And Emerging Economy," Montenegrin Journal of Economics, Economic Laboratory for Transition Research (ELIT), vol. 1(1), pages 139-150.
  12. Pelikan, Pavel, 1989. "Markets as Instruments of Evolution of Structures," Working Paper Series 237, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  13. Pelikan, Pavel, 1986. "The Formation of Incentive Mechanisms in Different Economic Systems," Working Paper Series 155, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  14. Christian Schubert, 2009. "Is Novelty always a good thing? Towards an Evolutionary Welfare Economics," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2009-03, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  15. repec:dgr:uvatin:0000109 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Mark Blaug, 2001. "Is Competition Such a Good Thing? Static Efficiency versus Dynamic Efficiency," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 37-48, August.
  17. David Audretsch & Roy Thurik, 0000. "Sources of Growth," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 97-109/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  18. Gallacher, Marcos & Goetz, Stephan J. & Debertin, David L., 1994. "Managerial form, ownership and efficiency: a case-study of Argentine agriculture," Agricultural Economics: The Journal of the International Association of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 11(2-3), December.

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