Historical Biographies of Entrepreneurs

T. A. B. Corley

in The Oxford Handbook of Entrepreneurship

Published in print May 2008 | ISBN: 9780199546992
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191577383 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management C

Historical Biographies of Entrepreneurs

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  • Business History
  • Organizational Theory and Behaviour


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Basic theory analyses the entrepreneur's role in the economic system. Of the four conventional factors of production, namely: land, labour, capital, and organization (or entrepreneurship), objective demand and supply schedules are possible for the first three. By contrast, a demand curve for entrepreneurship cannot be drawn, as it is for the entrepreneurs themselves to decide whether or not to enter the production process as a freelancer. Harvey Leibenstein, a development economist, however, constructed a supply curve for entrepreneurs, linking their anticipations of per capita income growth with the rate of expansion of entrepreneurship in terms of their contribution to such growth in incomes. Hence many theorists portray the corporate drives of entrepreneurs as forward-looking ones. How, then, can biographies most satisfactorily discuss such drives in a chronological narrative of a life from cradle to the grave? Childhood influences, such as premature responsibilities through a parent's death, and struggles for recognition in early adulthood have to be brought out, as well as the precise explanation of finally winning through.

Keywords: historical biographies; entrepreneur's role; economic systems; entrepreneurship; production process; per capita income

Article.  8340 words. 

Subjects: Business History ; Organizational Theory and Behaviour

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