Working Paper No. 766

Entrepreneurship and Second-best Institutions: Going Beyond Baumol’s Typology

Published: September 23, 2008, revised October and November 2008, August 2009, January and March 2010Pages: 19Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Innovation; InstitutionsJEL-codes: L50; M13; O31; O17

Entrepreneurship and Second-best Institutions: Going Beyond Baumol’s Typology Robin Douhan and Magnus Henrekson


This paper reconsiders the predominant typology pioneered by Baumol (1990) among productive, unproductive and destructive entrepreneurship. It is shown that the foundation of Baumol’s classificatory scheme is the restrictive concept of first-best outcomes, and therefore easily fails to appreciate the true impact of entrepreneurship in real world circumstances characterized by suboptimal institutions. We present an alternative way of generalizing the notion of entrepreneurship and show how and why it encompasses the Baumol typology as a special case. Our main distinction is between business and institutional entrepreneurship. We draw on Schumpeter and introduce the entrepreneur in an additional function: as a potential disturber of an institutional equilibrium. Various subsets of institutional entrepreneurship are posited and discussed. It is shown that changing the workings of institutions constitutes an important set of entrepreneurial profit opportunities. An implication of this is that entrepreneurial efforts to reform or offset inefficient institutions can in some cases be welfare-improving.

Magnus Henrekson

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An Agenda for Europe

Institutional Reform for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Omslag 2017 Institutional Reform for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.jpg

The authors of this book, Niklas Elert, Magnus Henrekson and Mikael Stenkula, advise the economies of the European Union to become more entrepreneurial in promoting innovation and economic growth. The authors propose a reform strategy with respect to several aspects to achieve this goal.

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