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The inventor’s role: was Schumpeter right?


  • Pontus Braunerhjelm


  • Roger Svensson



According to Schumpeter, the creative process of economic development can be divided into three distinguishable stages of invention, innovation (commercialization) and imitation. We show why there is a rationale for the Schumpeterian entrepreneur to also include the inventor in the innovation process. In addition, we provide a framework where the theories of Knight’s risk defining entrepreneur and Schumpeter’s innovative entrepreneur can be bridged. Merging the two enhances the possibilities of successful commercialization since the inventor may further adapt the innovation to customer needs, transmit information and reduce uncertainty. This serves to expand the market opportunities for the entrepreneur. The empirical analysis is based on a survey covering Swedish patents granted to individuals and small firms, with a response rate of 80 %. The results show improved commercialization performance when the patent is licensed or sold to an entrepreneur, or if the inventor is employed in an entrepreneurial firm, as compared to commercialization in the inventor’s own firm. Another important result is that, irrespective of commercialization mode, an active involvement of the inventor is shown to have a positive impact on performance.
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Suggested Citation

  • Pontus Braunerhjelm & Roger Svensson, 2010. "The inventor’s role: was Schumpeter right?," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 413-444, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joevec:v:20:y:2010:i:3:p:413-444 DOI: 10.1007/s00191-009-0157-5

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    Cited by:

    1. Braunerhjelm, Pontus, 2010. "Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Economic Growth – Past experiences, current knowledge and policy implications," Working Papers 2010:2, Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum.
    2. Erika Färnstrand Damsgaard & Marie C. Thursby, 2013. "University entrepreneurship and professor privilege," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(1), pages 183-218, February.
    3. Christos Agiakloglou & Kyriakos Drivas & Dimitris Karamanis, 2016. "Individual inventors and market potentials: Evidence from US patents," Science and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(2), pages 147-156.
    4. Zoltán J. Ács & Pontus Braunerhjelm & David B. Audretsch & Bo Carlsson, 2015. "The knowledge spillover theory of entrepreneurship," Chapters,in: Global Entrepreneurship, Institutions and Incentives, chapter 7, pages 129-144 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Joern Block & Roy Thurik & Haibo Zhou, 2013. "What turns knowledge into innovative products? The role of entrepreneurship and knowledge spillovers," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 23(4), pages 693-718, September.
    6. Pontus Braunerhjelm & Magnus Henrekson, 2013. "Entrepreneurship, institutions, and economic dynamism: lessons from a comparison of the United States and Sweden," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(1), pages 107-130, February.
    7. Joshua S. Gans & Lars Persson, 2013. "Entrepreneurial commercialization choices and the interaction between IPR and competition policy," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(1), pages 131-151, February.

    More about this item


    Entrepreneur; Inventor; Innovation; Commercialization; 031; 032; M13;

    JEL classification:

    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D


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