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Entrepreneurship as Experimentation

William Kerr (), Ramana Nanda () and Matthew Rhodes-Kropf ()

No 20358, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: Entrepreneurship research is on the rise but many questions about its fundamental nature still exist. We argue that entrepreneurship is about experimentation: the probabilities of success are low, extremely skewed and unknowable until an investment is made. At a macro level experimentation by new firms underlies the Schumpeterian notion of creative destruction. However, at a micro level investment and continuation decisions are not always made in a competitive Darwinian contest. Instead, a few investors make decisions that are impacted by incentive, agency and coordination problems, often before a new idea even has a chance to compete in a market. We contend that costs and constraints on the ability to experiment alter the type of organizational form surrounding innovation and influence when innovation is more likely to occur. These factors not only govern how much experimentation is undertaken in the economy, but also the trajectory of experimentation, with potentially very deep economic consequences.

JEL-codes: G24 L26 O32 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cse, nep-ent and nep-ino
Date: 2014-07
Note: PR
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Published as William R. Kerr & Ramana Nanda & Matthew Rhodes-Kropf, 2014. "Entrepreneurship as Experimentation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(3), pages 25-48, Summer.

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