The Private Governance of Entrepreneurship: An Institutional Approach to Entrepreneurial Discovery
Allen, DWE (2017) 'The Private Governance of Entrepreneurship: An Institutional Approach to Entrepreneurial Discovery', PhD Dissertation, RMIT University, Melbourne.
255 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2019
Date Written: August 31, 2017
This thesis develops and applies an institutional governance approach to the economic problem of entrepreneurial discovery of market opportunities. In doing so it expands understanding of one of the fundamental drivers of economic growth, innovation, and contributes both to institutional economics and entrepreneurial theory. This thesis applies the analytical approaches and theories of institutional mainline economics — including transaction cost economics, entrepreneurial theory, common pool resource management and new comparative political economy — to analyse the governance choices of entrepreneurs in the earliest stages of entrepreneurial discovery. Early stage entrepreneurs face an economic problem of coordinating non-price information about future market opportunities with others, under uncertainty, with non-zero transaction costs. This new contract-theoretic approach to the innovation problem does not emphasise a market failure of a misallocation of investment to innovation activities, but rather emphasises the entrepreneurial problem of the governance of knowledge under uncertainty to discover actionable market opportunities. The main proposition is that it may be transaction cost economising for an early stage entrepreneur to privately self-govern opportunity discovery in polycentric hybrids called innovation commons. This theoretical development is applied to the cases of hackerspaces and the hybrid organisations coalescing around blockchain technology. The role of innovation commons also has implications for the political economy of the institutions of innovation policy. As such, this dissertation has three structural parts — theoretical development, application and political economy — that converge on the theme of the private collective action governance of entrepreneurial discovery.
Keywords: Entrepreneurship, Comparative Political Economy, Innovation, Commons, New Institutional Economics, Economics
JEL Classification: B53, P48
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