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The Absent Entrepreneur: Exploring the Role of the Entrepreneur in Economics
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.), Economics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4278-0127
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Economics as an academic discipline has often found it difficult to formally model the Entrepreneur. As Baumol (1968) noted, “The theoretical firm is entrepreneurless—the prince of Denmark has been expunged from the discussion of Hamlet.”This dissertation first examines if the entrepreneur is still absent from economics and then seeks to apply the concept of the entrepreneur to some contemporary economic discussions. Finally, I examine a concept closely associated with entrepreneurship: Philanthropy.The first and second article examine the presence of the entrepreneur and the family firm in the current economic “canon” in economics PhD programs. We find that the entrepreneur remains scarce in economics, but that some recent included works attempt to model entrepreneurship. The family firm is entirely absent from the surveyed literature.The third article examines the impact of a major Swedish educational reform that lengthened mandatory education on self-employment outcomes. I find that reform participants are less likely to operate marginal businesses.The fourth article examines income inequality in the United States in relation to entrepreneurship. Using the “Supermanager” hypothesis of Thomas Piketty as a starting point, we argue that entrepreneurs and managers in closely held firms play an important role in rising income inequality.Finally, the fifth article examines the state of Swedish philanthropy, a field usually fueled by successful entrepreneurship. We examine the productivity of philanthropic funding of research relative to other R&D funding and conclude that the main predictor of publication and patent output appears to be overall funding, not funding structure.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2018. , p. 137
Series
TRITA-ITM-AVL ; 2018:49
Keywords [en]
entrepreneurship, education, income distribution, philanthropy, economics
National Category
Economics
Research subject
Economics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-235382ISBN: 978-91-7729-968-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-235382DiVA, id: diva2:1250690
Public defence
2018-10-23, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, Stockholm, 14:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg FoundationAvailable from: 2018-09-25 Created: 2018-09-24 Last updated: 2018-09-26Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Economics Doctoral Programs Still Elide Entrepreneurship
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Economics Doctoral Programs Still Elide Entrepreneurship
2017 (English)In: Econ Journal Watch, ISSN 1933-527X, E-ISSN 1933-527X, Vol. 14, no 2, p. 196-217Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Is entrepreneurship covered in economics doctoral programs? Updating an earlier study (Johansson 2004), we examine leading programs in the United States and Sweden by textual analysis of textbooks and assigned articles in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and industrial organization courses. We find that coverage of entrepreneurship in textbooks is scant and that theories regarding the function of the entrepreneur are hardly mentioned in assigned articles. Talk of the entrepreneur is more common in a few newer textbooks, which could indicate a renewed interest. But even textbooks that mention the entrepreneur do not define the concept or discuss the entrepreneur’s economic role in any depth; often the entrepreneur is just another optimizing agent within a model, like a borrower, manager, or investor.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
INST SPONTANEOUS ORDER ECONOMICS, 2017
National Category
Educational Sciences Economics and Business
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-210937 (URN)000403570100005 ()2-s2.0-85020226665 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20170714

Available from: 2017-07-14 Created: 2017-07-14 Last updated: 2018-09-24Bibliographically approved
2. Family Business – A Missing Link in Economics
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Family Business – A Missing Link in Economics
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Family businesses account for a substantial share of economic activity and deviate from standard economic assumptions on firm behavior. However, little is known about how these businesses are represented in economic theory. This article examines the inclusion of family business in economics doctoral programs in the United States and Sweden, as well as professors and textbook authors’ views and research on family business. Textbooks, articles and course offerings used in doctoral programs are considered to indicate the state of knowledge in the field. This article finds that family business is not a subject within the examined programs, and professors and authors do not publish research on this topic. Moreover, professors and authors generally state that family business needs not be a part of economic theory. This paper concludes that family business is excluded from ‘core’ economic theory.

Keywords
entrepreneur; family business; family control; family firm; teaching; textbook
National Category
Economics
Research subject
Economics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-235378 (URN)
Note

QC 20180928

Available from: 2018-09-24 Created: 2018-09-24 Last updated: 2018-09-28Bibliographically approved
3. Education and Entrepreneurship: Evidence from the Swedish comprehensive school reform
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Education and Entrepreneurship: Evidence from the Swedish comprehensive school reform
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

What is the effect of education on the propensity to become self-employed and on entrepreneurial success? The Swedish compulsory school reform of the 1950s and 60s increased the length of mandatory education. I examine the impact of this educational reform on the propensity to start a business. Furthermore, I investigate the effect of reform participation on the success of operational firm leaders. The geographically and temporally differentiated implementation of the reform allows me to compare treated and untreated individuals who differ in their exposure to the reform. Reform participation did not lead to a significant change in the propensity for self-employment, and did not appear to impact performance amongst those reform participants that became operational leaders of firms. However, reform participation decreased the prevalence of low-value-added or “push” entrepreneurship.

Keywords
education; entrepreneurship; school reform
National Category
Economics
Research subject
Economics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-235379 (URN)
Note

QC 20180928

Available from: 2018-09-24 Created: 2018-09-24 Last updated: 2018-09-28Bibliographically approved
4. The role of entrepreneurship in rising wealth and income inequality
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The role of entrepreneurship in rising wealth and income inequality
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Economist Thomas Piketty has proposed that the increasing income share of high earners in the US has been caused by the growing ability of managers in large organizations to extract rents. This conclusion is based on tax data where it is difficult to separate salaried and self-employed individuals. We therefore use a more detailed analysis of tax data as well as self-reported data on income, wealth and business activity to examine the validity of Piketty´s theory. Tax data indicates that the share of salaried managers amongst the top 0.1 percent of earners declined from 38 to 20 percent between 1979 and 2005. Self-reported data from the Survey of Consumer Finances for the period 1989-2016 confirms that entrepreneurial households make up a large share of top income earners. Increasing managerial bargaining power is unlikely to have been the primary driving force behind the increase in top incomes in recent decades.

Keywords
wealth, income distribution, entrepreneurship
National Category
Economics
Research subject
Economics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-235380 (URN)
Note

QC 20180926

Available from: 2018-09-24 Created: 2018-09-24 Last updated: 2018-09-26Bibliographically approved
5. Philanthropy as a source of innovation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Philanthropy as a source of innovation
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Philanthropic donations directed towards education and research have the potential to be growth enhancing by augmenting knowledge production in society. However, knowledge about the role of philanthropy is relatively limited. To fill this gap this paper first provides an overview of the extent and evolution of Swedish philanthropy and then examines the connection between philanthropic donations and knowledge output measured as patent application and scientific publications. We find that total funding for research and development and university research is a strong predictor for patent and publication output. However, funding composition is overall not significantly associated with knowledge or innovation outcomes.

Keywords
entrepreneurship, philanthropy, innovation, research
National Category
Economics
Research subject
Economics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-235381 (URN)
Note

QC 20180926

Available from: 2018-09-24 Created: 2018-09-24 Last updated: 2018-09-26Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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