Toward a theory of public sector entrepreneurship

Gordon E. Shockley, Roger R. Stough, Kingsley E. Haynes, Peter M. Frank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Existing theories of public sector entrepreneurship lack a sense of entrepreneurial discovery ubiquitous in human action. Instead, existing theories emphasise rational calculation in a public sector setting. Existing theories of public sector entrepreneurship, therefore, are inadequate to account for the observed entrepreneurial behaviour in political and bureaucratic settings. The purpose of this paper is to redress the limited theories of public sector entrepreneurship by integrating Kirznerian and Schumpeterian theories of entrepreneurship with Buchanan and Tullock's constitutional political economy to move toward a theory of public sector entrepreneurship. The following analytic definition is offered: Public sector entrepreneurship occurs whenever a political or governmental actor is alert to, and acts on, potential political profit opportunities, thus equilibrating the policy subsystem in which the actor is embedded and moving it toward a new equilibrium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-223
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Entrepreneurship
  • Israel Kirzner
  • Joseph Schumpeter
  • Public administration and policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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