Job and Enterprise Creation Schemes: Putting Jane Jacobs to Work

6 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2006

Date Written: March 16, 2006


This brief note presents some policy ideas about entrepreneurship and job creation that were derived from Jane Jacobs' writings about how economies grow. Roughly the argument is that the main training grounds for entrepreneurial, technical, and business capacities are existing businesses. There are two ways that this training can lead to new growth - just as there are two ways that existing biological DNA can lead to the growth of bio-mass, namely, (1) existing organisms getting bigger or (2) by spinning out offspring who in turn can spin out more offspring. There are important limits on existing organisms or, rather, organizations just getting bigger. Where growth has been vibrant, e.g., Silicon Valley, it has followed the biological principle of plenitude, growth by offspring. Yet there is a basis conundrum; the standard unitary form of business ownership wants to capture all the growth it might spawn and it recognizes no natural limits to its size, and thus it serves as a fetter on the natural springs of growth. Some alternative approaches to this public policy conundrum are discussed.

Keywords: entrepreneurship, Jane Jacobs, job creation

JEL Classification: M13, J54

Suggested Citation

Ellerman, David, Job and Enterprise Creation Schemes: Putting Jane Jacobs to Work (March 16, 2006). Available at SSRN: or

David Ellerman (Contact Author)

University of Ljubljana ( email )

School of Social Science
Ljubljana, CA


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