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Entrepreneurshoip and the Economic Theory of the Firm Any Gains from Trade?

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  • Nicolai J. Foss
  • Peter G. Klein

Abstract

Although they have developed very much in isolation from each other, we argue the theory of entrepreneurship and the economic theory of the firm are closely related, and each has much to learn from the other. In particular, the notion of entrepreneurship as judgment associated with Frank Knight and some Austrian school economists aligns naturally with the theory of the firm. In this perspective, the entrepreneur needs a firm, that is, a set of alienable assets he controls, to carry out his function. We further show how this notion of judgment adds to the key themes in the modern theory of the firm (i.e., the existence, boundaries, and internal organization). In our approach, resource uses are not data, but are created as entrepreneurs envision new ways of using assets to produce goods. The entrepreneur’s decision problem is aggravated by the fact that capital assets are heterogeneous. Asset ownership facilitates experimenting entrepreneurship: Acquiring a bundle of property rights is a low cost means of carrying out commercial experimentation. In this approach, the existence of the firm may be understood in terms of limits to the market for judgment relating to novel uses of heterogeneous assets; and the boundaries of the firm, as well as aspects of internal organization, may be understood as being responsive to entrepreneurial processes of experimentation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies in its series DRUID Working Papers with number 04-12.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:aal:abbswp:04-12

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Web page: http://www.druid.dk/

Related research

Keywords: Entrepreneurship; heterogeneous assets; judgment; ownership; firm boundaries; internal organization;

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References

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  1. Barzel, Yoram, 1987. "The Entrepreneur's Reward for Self-policing," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 25(1), pages 103-16, January.
  2. Bengt Holmstrom, 1982. "Moral Hazard in Teams," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 324-340, Autumn.
  3. Baumol, William J, 1990. "Entrepreneurship: Productive, Unproductive, and Destructive," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 893-921, October.
  4. Gregor Andrade & Mark Mitchell & Erik Stafford, 2001. "New Evidence and Perspectives on Mergers," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 103-120, Spring.
  5. Nicolai Foss & Kirsten Foss & Peter G. Klein & Sandra K. Klein, . "Heterogeneous Capital, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Organization," IVS/CBS Working Papers 2002-02, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy, Copenhagen Business School.
  6. Foss, Nicolai J., 1996. "The “Alternative” Theories of Knight and Coase, and the Modern Theory of the Firm," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(01), pages 76-95, March.
  7. Gifford, Sharon, 1992. "Allocation of entrepreneurial attention," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 265-284, December.
  8. Bajari, Patrick & Tadelis, Steven, 2001. "Incentives versus Transaction Costs: A Theory of Procurement Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(3), pages 387-407, Autumn.
  9. Langlois, Richard N, 1998. "Personal Capitalism as Charismatic Authority: The Organizational Economics of a Weberian Concept," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(1), pages 195-213, March.
  10. Foss, Nicolai Juul, 1993. "Theories of the Firm: Contractual and Competence Perspectives," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 127-44, May.
  11. Witt, Ulrich, 1998. "Imagination and leadership - The neglected dimension of an evolutionary theory of the firm," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 161-177, April.
  12. Andrade, Gregor & Stafford, Erik, 2004. "Investigating the economic role of mergers," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 1-36, January.
  13. Wruck, Karen Hopper & Jensen, Michael C., 1994. "Science, specific knowledge, and total quality management," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 247-287, November.
  14. Paul J. McNulty, 1984. "On the Nature and Theory of Economic Organization: the Role of the Firm Reconsidered," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 233-253, Summer.
  15. Foss, Nicolai Juul, 1994. " The Theory of the Firm: The Austrians as Precursors and Critics of Contemporary Theory," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 31-65.
  16. Matsusaka, John G, 2001. "Corporate Diversification, Value Maximization, and Organizational Capabilities," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74(3), pages 409-31, July.
  17. Chandler, Gaylen N. & Jansen, Erik, 1992. "The founder's self-assessed competence and venture performance," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 223-236, May.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Defeuilley, Christophe, 2009. "Retail competition in electricity markets," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 377-386, February.
  2. Kirsten Foss & Nicolai J. Foss & Peter G. Klein, 2006. "Original and Derived Judgment An Entrepreneurial Theory of Economic Organization," DRUID Working Papers 06-09, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  3. Cecere, Grazia, 2012. "Creative and adaptive responses in technological change," 23rd European Regional ITS Conference, Vienna 2012 60396, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
  4. Pitelis, Christos & Teece, David, 2009. "The (new) nature and essence of the firm," MPRA Paper 24317, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Ulrich Witt, 2007. "Firms as Realizations of Entrepreneurial Visions," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(7), pages 1125-1140, November.
  6. Kor, Yasemin Y. & Mahoney, Joseph T. & Michael, Steven C., 2005. "Resources, Capabilities and Entrepreneurial Perceptions," Working Papers 05-0120, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Business.
  7. Foss, Nicolai J. & Klein, Peter G. & Kor, Yasemin Y. & Mahoney, Joseph T., 2006. "Entrepreneurship, Subjectivism, and the Resource-Based View: Towards a New Synthesis," Working Papers 06-0121, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Business.
  8. Kraaijenbrink, Jeroen & Spender, JC & Groen, Aard, 2009. "The resource-based view: A review and assessment of its critiques," MPRA Paper 21442, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Christian Bjørnskov & Nicolai Foss, 2008. "Economic freedom and entrepreneurial activity: Some cross-country evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 134(3), pages 307-328, March.
  10. Cook, Michael L. & Plunkett, Brad, 2006. "Collective Entrepreneurship: An Emerging Phenomenon in Producer-Owned Organizations," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 38(02), August.
  11. Philip Auerswald, 2008. "Entrepreneurship in the Theory of the Firm," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 111-126, February.

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