Routledge Handbook of Entrepreneurship in Developing Economies

Besnik Krasniqi (Department of Management, Faculty of Economics, University of Pristina, Pristina, Kosovo) (Department of Economics, Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, UK)

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

ISSN: 1355-2554

Article publication date: 19 March 2018

Issue publication date: 19 March 2018




Krasniqi, B. (2018), "Routledge Handbook of Entrepreneurship in Developing Economies", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 24 No. 2, pp. 574-575.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

Entrepreneurship has been the cornerstone of academic and policy discussions all over the world. There is, in particular, a rapid growth of interest in entrepreneurship in developing countries. Policymakers in developing countries view entrepreneurship as a key instrument to promote economic development and growth. Despite its importance, yet there is a gap in the field of entrepreneurship in developing countries with regard to the characteristics of entrepreneurs, unique features of an ecosystem in which they operate and a variety of motives for entrepreneurial activities.

The book Routledge Handbook of Entrepreneurship in Developing Economies fills the need for a better explanation and understanding of the distinct features of entrepreneurship in developing countries and how policymakers can harness the entrepreneurial potential and demonstrate how it can be successfully mobilized to achieve impact and promote economic growth. As the editors in their introduction argue (p. 1) “unless the various facets of entrepreneurship in developing countries’ are well understood, their policymakers will be limited to develop policy proposals to promote entrepreneurship”.

Their book is divided into six parts: institutional environment of entrepreneurship, entrepreneurs’ motivations, gender and entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship education and learning, and policy implications. The main discourse of the book is to add value to the present debate about the necessity- vs opportunity-driven entrepreneurship and hence discusses different policy options to harness more from opportunity-driven entrepreneurship development. The first set of chapters is primarily focussed on the institutional environment based on institutional theories to explain the importance of the context. This discussion is illustrated by different chapters covering different country contexts which share similar features. The main argument is built around the institutional asymmetry suggesting that the smaller the gap between formal and informal institutions, the better the prospects for development of opportunity-driven entrepreneurship.

In Part 2, the book provides evidence to challenge the commonly held view in the literature that entrepreneurship in developing countries is primarily out of necessity. In addition, the book links the discussion with the gendered aspects of entrepreneurship and policy environment for female entrepreneurs in developing countries. The book argues that based on various evidence from lived practices of entrepreneurs in different countries, they face different gender disparities in terms of both entrepreneurial activities and labour participation of women. The book reveals consistent discussion that highlights the clear distinction between the necessity- vs opportunity-driven entrepreneurship, including the argument that informal entrepreneurship not always is the matter of necessity. There are informal entrepreneurs who have chosen entrepreneurial career out of choice. The book also presents research on how different forms of entrepreneurship learning and education took place in different context including learning in families, firms, and social networks. The evidence suggests the insignificant impact of education on entrepreneurial intention, which needs further investigation from study programs, different groups served.

This discussion is valuable in terms of developing country context as this distinction leads to different policy approaches which may lead to different expected policy results. However, the book does not make a clear distinction between developing and transitional economies and there is a concern whether we could have included chapters for all these countries mixed in a single handbook, considering their differences.

However, in this discussion, this book does not cover an important aspect of this discussion in developed but also very important in developing economies – high-growth entrepreneurship. The discussion on high-growth firms in the more detailed manner (not only one chapter on growth aspiration) would have shed more light on policy implications in the last chapter on offering policy guidance. The last part on policy implications provides valuable evidence and illustrative examples of successful experiences of entrepreneurship support tools and instruments which can be very helpful for policy practitioners. The strength of the book is that includes and cases of failures of policy measures.

The book Routledge Handbook of Entrepreneurship in Developing Economies presents a broad range of ideas and country perspectives and it benefits from the debate and contrasting perspectives on necessity vs opportunity-driven entrepreneurs. They provide evidence and offer constructive critique on this debate by offering alternatives on how to offer policy options. The ideas covered in the book are not radically new, because some of these ideas have been discussed in various journals, and in several cases have been published previously by the authors based on their earlier work. However, the reader for the first time has the opportunity to have a collection of different works in the area of entrepreneurship in developing countries in one single handbook with rich evidence from countries all over the world, ranging from Albania to Tanzania. Therefore, the ideas presented in this book will serve as a basis for future discussion on the distinct features of entrepreneurship in developing economies and the need for context-specific policy measures to harness from entrepreneurship development in these countries.

This book will be of great interest to researchers, students, and policymakers interested in entrepreneurship development, business management, and economic development in general. In particular, the handbook will introduce them to the processes and complexities and heterogeneity different forms of entrepreneurship in developing as well as in transitional economies.

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