August 17, 2009

An Entrepreneurial Theory of Social and Cultural Change

  • Christopher Coyne

    Associate Director, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
  • Peter J. Boettke

    Director, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
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This chapter contends that the entrepreneur is the agent of social and cultural change. The authors consider the entrepreneur in three settings: market, non-market and political. Their purpose is to understand how entrepreneurs create anew or shift existing focal points and how they make these changes salient. The authors also seek to understand the transferability of the desirable consequences of entrepreneurship in the market setting to activities in the non-market and political settings. It is the authors' contention that the desirable aspects of entrepreneurship in economic settings are transferable to non-market and political settings to the extent that there are proxies for prices and profit/loss. The paper goes on to argue that while reputation serves as a soft constraint in non-market settings, there is a complete absence of a disciplinary device in political settings. Several applications are provided to illustrate the wide-ranging applicability of the framework.

Citation (Chicago Style)

Coyne, Christopher and Peter Boettke. “An Entrepreneurial Theory of Social and Cultural Change.” In Markets and Civil Society: The European Experience in Comparative Perspective, edited by Víctor Pérez-Díaz, 77-103. New York: Berghahn Books, 2009.