Historical Perspectives on the Entrepreneur

149 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2010

See all articles by Robert F. Hébert

Robert F. Hébert

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Albert Link

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Greensboro - Department of Economics

Date Written: June 21, 2010


This survey establishes a chronological trace of the entrepreneur as treated in economic literature in order to give a more wholesome perspective to contemporary writings and teachings on entrepreneurship. The authors review the historical nature and role of the entrepreneur as revealed in economic literature from the 18th century to the present. This survey shows the ambiguous nature of a concept that, due to Schumpeter’s dominant influence, has come to occupy a primary role in the theory of economic development. In addition, there are other conceptions of entrepreneurship presented besides Schumpeter’s. This historical survey also illustrates the tension that often exists between “theory” and “practice.” We shall learn that it has been difficult for economic theory to assimilate a core concept that plays a vital role in social and economic change. Finally, the authors expose the many different facets of entrepreneurship as they have been perceived by some of the great economists throughout the ages.

Contents: Introduction; The Prehistory of Entrepreneurship; Early French Contributions; The English School of Thought; The German Tradition; Early Neoclassical Perspectives; The View from America; Joseph Schumpeter; Beyond Schumpeter; The Entrepreneur and the Firm; Conclusion; References

Keywords: entrepreneurship, Schumpeterian economics

Suggested Citation

Hébert, Robert F. and Link, Albert N., Historical Perspectives on the Entrepreneur (June 21, 2010). Foundations and Trends in Entrepreneurship, Vol. 2, No. 4, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1628241

Robert F. Hébert (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Albert N. Link

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Greensboro - Department of Economics ( email )

Greensboro, NC 27402-6165
United States
336-334-5146 (Phone)
336-334-4089 (Fax)

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