Monday, November 13, 2006

The entrepreneur in economics

It is the case of the missing entrepreneur. He is missing from mainstream economics texts and journals. I have been thinking about a term paper idea and went hunting for literature on entrepreneurs in economics journals. I was surprised that a simple search turned up no recent economic journal articles. There were a few in the 60s and 40s but none since then. The business journals on the other hand seem to have done a lot of work on the entrepreneur. There's even a book by Barreto which talks about the missing entrepreneur. I was really surprised to see this. Of course, I am at a college where the entrepreneur is talked about constantly and apart from Austrian or such leaning economists no one seems to talk about entrepreneur and one historian I read blames Ricardo and his following for the disappearance of the entrepreneur from mainstream economics. The idea is that Ricardo's emphasis on equilibrium concepts and static analysis took-off in mainstream economics. Until then Cantillon, Say and others had been talking a lot about the entrepreneur. Did Adam Smith really talk about the entrepreneur? He talked about the undertaker which I means one who undertakes rather than the common English meaning we associate it with. I am not sure Smith paid a lot of attention to the entrepreneur. Ricardo, Malthus and others did take off from Smith. So did the entrepreneur disappear with Smith? What is surprising is that sociologists are talking about the demand and supply of entrepreneurship and economists do not seem to be. Kirzner did, but he is not cited by the Sociologists. The top business school economists do quote Schumpeter and Kirzner and Baumol even compares Knight and Schumpeter with Kirzner. Well! This is my current quest, to find the elusive entrepreneur in economics journals that are not Austrian.

1 comment:

Jason Br. said...

You may want to try searching for the word "promoter". If I recall correctly, that word once had a meaning similar to that of the word "entrepreneur" today.