The Determinants of Entrepreneurial Alertness and the Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs
Annual Proceedings of the Wealth and Well-Being of Nations, Vol. 2, Emily Chamlee-Wright, ed., Beloit College Press, 2011
21 Pages Posted: 15 Jan 2011
Date Written: January 12, 2011
Israel Kirzner has made important contributions to our understanding of the critical role that entrepreneurship plays in markets and has considerable influence in economics, public policy and entrepreneurship studies. For Kirzner, understanding the role of the entrepreneur is essential to understanding how errors get corrected in the market and understanding the role of alertness is essential to understanding how it is that entrepreneurs come to identify these errors. As he explains, alert individuals discover profit opportunities and, thus, driving the market process toward equilibrium. Although Kirzner’s work on entrepreneurship has been widely celebrated, it has been criticized on several fronts. Specifically, he has been criticized for abstracting from the psychological characteristics of real world entrepreneurs and the determinants of alertness. These criticisms, we contend, are unfair and misunderstand Kirzner’s project. Moreover, we argue, rather than closing off inquiry, his theory of entrepreneurship makes a fruitful analysis of the psychological characteristics of entrepreneurs and the determinants of alertness possible.
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