Review of Austrian Economics, 11: 99–109 (1999) ° c 1999 Kluwer Academic Publishers Do Entrepreneurs Need Firms? A Contribution to a Missing Chapter in Austrian Economics ULRICH WITT n popular understanding, ﬁrms and entrepreneurs are closely related entities: an entrepreneur without a ﬁrm is difﬁcult to imagine, and the fate of a ﬁrm usually hinges upon who takes the entrepreneurial lead. Curiously enough, economic theorizing has not taken much interest in the relationship between entrepreneurship and the ﬁrm as an organizational form. Theories focussing on the entrepreneurial element in the economy, in particular the contributions in the Austrian tradition, have paid hardly any attention to the role of the ﬁrm, while the various theories of the ﬁrm have largely disregarded the role of the entrepreneur (see Loasby (1991); an exception is Casson (1982) who, however, deals with the matter in a somewhat eclectic way). The entrepreneur has been a central ﬁgure in Austrian economics since Ludwig von Wieser’s teachings at the beginning of the century (Streissler (1982)), a ﬁgure which was presented as something like a personiﬁcation of the forces of change driving the economic process. Schumpeter (1912/1934) stylized Wieser’s view into a theory of entrepreneurial capabilities with elitist
The Review of Austrian Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 30, 2004
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