This paper aims to highlight the possibility that the same cultural and/or institutional environment can differentially affect each of the two moments of entrepreneurship…
This paper aims to highlight the possibility that the same cultural and/or institutional environment can differentially affect each of the two moments of entrepreneurship – opportunity identification and opportunity exploitation. It is possible that the cultural and institutional environment in a particular place may encourage opportunity identification, but discourage opportunity exploitation, or vice versa. Specifically, this paper argues that understanding entrepreneurship in Trinidad and Tobago requires that we focus on how Trinidadian culture and institutions differentially affect both moments of entrepreneurship.
To examine how Trinidad and Tobago’s culture and institutions affect entrepreneurial opportunity identification and exploitation in that country, the paper uses a qualitative approach. In total, 25 subjects agreed to interviews, conducted in July and August 2009 in Trinidad. The questions were geared at understanding attitudes toward work and entrepreneurship in Trinidad, and how politics, culture and ethnicity interacted with those attitudes. The paper also examined institutional indicators from the Economic Freedom of the World: 2013 Annual Report and the World Bank’s 2016 Doing Business Report.
The research identified features of the cultural and institutional environment in Trinidad and Tobago that help to explain why opportunity identification is relatively common among all ethnic groups there, but why opportunity exploitation appears relatively suppressed among African–Trinidadians. In particular, the research finds that the inheritance of British institutions, a post-colonial political culture, a post-colonial business culture and ethnically based social networks all have positive and negative influences on each moment of entrepreneurship.
Further research would involve an analysis of a wider set of both formal and informal entrepreneurial activities in Trinidad and Tobago, across industries and periods.
This paper has implications for understanding the complex nature of entrepreneurship, which many policymakers try to encourage, but which is shaped by deep cultural and historical factors, and also indirectly influenced by state policies and laws.
Ethnic patterns in entrepreneurship shape the way groups see themselves and others.
While authors writing about opportunity recognition/identification and opportunity exploitation have captured the important dimensions of entrepreneurship, they underestimate the possibility of a disconnect between entrepreneurial identification and exploitation. Focusing on instances where the disconnect exists allows us to move away from characterizations of cultures as progress-prone or progress-resistant, and instead allows us to focus on these gaps between identifying and exploiting entrepreneurship across cultures.
Culture shapes economic action and, as such, impacts economic life. Although there is a growing recognition amongst economists that culture matters, there is nothing approaching a universal agreement on how to incorporate culture into economic analysis. We provide a brief summary of how economists have discussed culture and then argue that Austrian School Economics is particularly well suited to contribute to our understanding of the relationship between culture and economic action. Indeed, Austrian economics has an advantage (1) because of its links to Max Weber’s approach to social science and (2) because of its emphasis on economics as a science of meaning. A Weber-inspired Austrian economics that stresses meaning, we argue, brings a focus on culture to the fore of economic analysis and opens the door for a progressive research program within cultural economics. Austrian economists can and have made significant contributions to our understanding of the relationship between culture and economic action. Moreover, we argue, explorations of the connection between culture and economic action can be a fruitful field of study within Austrian economics.
Austrian insights on the limits of central planning, the pervasiveness of knowledge problems, and the importance of the entrepreneur in coordinating social change have…
Austrian insights on the limits of central planning, the pervasiveness of knowledge problems, and the importance of the entrepreneur in coordinating social change have yielded substantive contributions to the literature on how individuals and communities respond to both natural and unnatural, or manmade, disasters. Austrian economists have examined the political economy of natural disasters, disaster relief and recovery efforts, the economic effects of extended wars, post-conflict societal reconstitution, and the effectiveness of humanitarian aid. This literature advances two main findings: (1) that centralized governments are likely to be ineffective at providing the goods and services that are necessary for community recovery and (2) that decentralized efforts are better suited to address the needs of society, to discover the best course of action for producing and distributing these goods and services, and to adapt to changing needs, circumstances, and technology. This paper examines the Austrian theories utilized to examine disasters, provides a summary of the recent research on both natural and unnatural disasters, and proposes areas for future research.
Max Weber and the Austrian School of Economics share many of the same intellectual influences as well as a similar commitment to a social science characterized by methodological individualism, methodological subjectivism, and value-freedom. Although many of the links between Weber and the Austrian school have been explored, one area of agreement between Weber and Mises that is yet to be explored is their shared understanding of the nature of the market. This chapter attempts to close this gap by examining the pictures of the market in Weber’s Economy and Society and Mises’ Human Action. We find that both portrayals share important features. These include similarities regarding (i) the nature of the market; (ii) the market’s autonomous logic; (iii) the impersonality of the market; and (iv) the market in society.
How should economists incorporate culture into their economic analysis? What empirical approaches to identifying, measuring, and analyzing the relationship between culture…
How should economists incorporate culture into their economic analysis? What empirical approaches to identifying, measuring, and analyzing the relationship between culture and economic action are most appropriate for economists? In particular, what can experimental economists learn from the methods of economic anthropologists, sociologists, and historians who study culture? We argue that while both quantitative and qualitative approaches can reveal interesting relationships between culture and economic actions/outcomes, especially in experimental research designs, qualitative methods help economists better understand people’s economic choices and the economic outcomes that emerge from those choices. This is because qualitative studies conceptualize culture as a pattern of meaning, take the relevant cultural data to be people’s thoughts and feelings, treat the market as a cultural phenomenon, and allow for novel explanations.
A successful scholarly movement must have thick vertical relationships, there must be an actual scholarly community comprising teacher/student relationships as well as regular seminars, conferences, journals, and book series. A successful movement must also have rich horizontal relationships, members in the community must have connections to others in the broader scholarly community. Boettke has argued that the Austrian tradition is failing to maximize its impact because, though rich in vertical relationships, it is short on horizontal relationships. Like Boettke, the author argues that our natural dialogical partners might not be economists but philosophers, sociologists, anthropologists, and historians. Moreover, the author argues, it is unclear that Austrian economists can expect to be influential, if by influential we mean acceptance by mainstream economists, without abandoning Austrian economics. As such, each Austrian economist should doggedly pursue the truth, even if it does not bring market share in the marketplace of ideas.