How Entrepreneurship Evolves

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Did you know that the first two American magazines, produced by rival printers Andrew Bradford and Benjamin Franklin in 1741, lasted only three and six months, respectively? But in their wake, an entrepreneurial spirit took hold, according to an article published in Administrative Science Quarterly:

Between the appearance of the first American magazines in 1741 and the outbreak of the Civil War 120 years later, the resources needed to publish magazines became more readily and universally available, the industry became more legitimate, and demand grew, especially for specialist magazines that targeted members of particular religious communities, reform movements, and occupations. But these developments were offset by the increasing cost of content as authorship became a paid occupation and by fierce competition from large publishers. The question remains as to what effect these changes had on the kinds of people who launched magazines.

asqHeather A. Haveman, Jacob Habinek, and Leo A. Goodman, all of the University of California, Berkeley, published “How Entrepreneurship Evolves: The Founders of New Magazines in America, 1741–1860” in the December 2012 issue of ASQ. From the abstract:

We craft a historically sensitive model of entrepreneurship linking individual actors to the evolving social structures they must navigate to acquire resources and launch new ventures. Theories of entrepreneurship and industry evolution suggest two opposing hypotheses: as an industry develops, launching a new venture may become more difficult for all but industry insiders and the socially prominent because of competition from large incumbents, or it may become easier for all people because the legitimacy accorded to the industry simplifies the entrepreneurial task. To test these two conflicting claims, we study the American magazine industry from 1741 to 1860…

To read on, please click here to access the article. Are you looking for more research on entrepreneurship? Follow this link to access Administrative Science Quarterly’s Mobilization and Entrepreneurship Editor’s Choice collection.

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