Industry innovativeness, firm size, and entrepreneurship: Schumpeter Mark III?

Research paper by Wilfred Dolfsma, Gerben van der Velde

Indexed on: 22 May '14Published on: 22 May '14Published in: Journal of Evolutionary Economics


Emphasizing the dynamics in economies and industries, Schumpeter points to entrepreneurs carrying out ‘new combinations’. His work, and in particular the Theory of Economic Development, is often interpreted as praising individual entrepreneurs setting up new firms to contribute to an industry’s innovativeness. This has come to be referred to as the Schumpeter Mark I perspective. Later, however, in his Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, Schumpeter has rather suggested that large incumbents are best positioned to contribute to an industry’s innovativeness (Schumpeter Mark II). In this discussion, however, the possibly different effects of structural as opposed to dynamic industry competitiveness is often not taken into account. In addition, the contribution of new and small firms to industry innovativeness are often conflated. Using New Product Announcements as a measure of innovation, we find that industries dominated by small firms prove consistently and significantly more innovative than industries where large firms dominate. Taking account of industries’ structural and dynamic levels of competition, we find that high existing and increasing levels of new firms entering an industry, exercising what Schumpeter called the ‘entrepreneurial function’, actually decrease industry innovativeness. We conclude that the contribution of small firms in terms of industry innovativeness is different from that of large as well as new firms, suggesting a Schumpeter Mark III perspective.