nep-ino New Economics Papers
on Innovation
Issue of 2015‒12‒12
23 papers chosen by
Uwe Cantner
University of Jena

  1. The Efficiency of Triple-Helix Relations in Innovation Systems: Measuring the Connection between a Country’S Net Income and its Knowledge Base By Inga Ivanova; Oivind Strand; Duncan Kushnir; Loet Leydesdorff
  2. Dynamics of innovation and internationalization among Vietnamese SMEs By Trinh, Long
  3. Determinants of Quantitative and Qualitative Employment Growth: A Comparison between R&D-oriented and Other Start-ups in Japan By OKAMURO, Hiroyuki; KATO, Masatoshi
  4. Directed Technological Change and Energy Efficiency Improvements By Jan Witajewski-Baltvilks; Elena Verdolini; Massimo Tavoni
  5. Cournot Competition and "Green" Innovation: An Inverted-U Relationship By Luca Lambertini; Joanna Poyago-Theotoky; Alessandro Tampieri
  6. Mobile Money Adoption and Financial Inclusion Objectives: A Macroeconomic Approach through a Cluster Analysis By Maëlle Della Peruta
  7. Evolution of Standards and Innovation By AOKI Reiko; ARAI Yasuhiro
  8. Invention and Development : Toward Schumpeter's early innovation theory By KOBAYASHI, Daisuke
  9. Theoretical and Practical Approaches of Innovation at Regional Level By Antonescu, Daniela
  10. Future Costs of Key Low-Carbon Energy Technologies: Harmonization and Aggregation of Energy Technology Expert Elicitation Data By Erin Baker; Valentina Bosetti; Laura Diaz Anadon; Max Henrion; Lara Aleluia Reis
  11. Entrepreneurial behavior in organizations: does job design matter? By Jeroen P. J. De Jong; Sharon K. Parker; Sander Wennekers; Chia-Huei Wu
  12. The UK's Productivity Puzzle By Bryson, Alex; Forth, John
  13. Business Models of Technoparks in Russia By Kristina Volkonitskaia
  14. Decision Frameworks and the Investment in R&D By Erin Baker; Olaitan Olaleye; Lara Aleluia Reis
  15. The new normal for the U.S. economy By Harker, Patrick T.
  16. Evaluating policies to improve total factor productivity in four large Latin American countries By Aravena, Claudio; Hofman, André A.; Fernández de Guevara, Juan; Mas, Matilde
  17. Scientific cooperation between the European Union and Turkey – advantages and possible synergies By Agota David; Tamas Szigetvari
  18. The network structure of city-firm relations By Antonios Garas; Celine Rozenblat; Frank Schweitzer
  19. The software and information technology services industry: An opportunity for the economic autonomy of women in Latin America By -
  20. Political Institutions, Technology and Growth: a dynamic panel approach By Zuazu Bermejo, Izaskun
  21. What kind of microfoundations? Notes on the evolutionary approach By Cimoli, Mario; Porcile, Gabriel
  22. De l'entrepreneur et de l'entrepreneuriat By Yvon Pesqueux
  23. Dutch social entrepreneurs in international development : Defying existing micro and macro characterizations By Helmsing, A.H.J.; Knorringa, P.; Gomez Gonzalez, D.

  1. By: Inga Ivanova (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Oivind Strand (Aalesund University College); Duncan Kushnir (Chalmers University of Technology); Loet Leydesdorff (University of Amsterdam)
    Abstract: We apply the Method of Reflections developed by Hidalgo and Hausmann for measuring economic complexity to a Triple Helix system of innovations by defining the Patent Complexity Index in analogy and addition to the Economic Complexity Index and extending MR to three dimensions. PCI is operationalized in terms of patent groups instead of product groups. PCI and ECI are computed for three groups of countries. We find no correlation between economic complexity and technological complexity which means that the two measures capture different information. Adding the third dimension of governance to the Method of Reflections, one can incorporate knowledge dimension in Hidalgo and Hausmann defined ECI and use MR for evaluation the efficiency of Triple-Helix system of innovations. The Method of Reflections can thus be used for evaluating the efficiency of a TH system of innovations in terms of its contribution to the net national income
    Keywords: Triple-Helix innovation system, Method of Reflections, economic complexity, technological efficiency, patent complexity index PCI
    JEL: C63
    Date: 2015
  2. By: Trinh, Long
    Abstract: Innovation and internationalization have been considered as the major sources of growth for a long time. Various theoretical models suggest a bi-directional causality relationship between these two decisions. However, so far there is limited empirical evidence on whether there is a dynamic interdependence of innovation and internationalization decisions among SME firms in developing countries. Using a dynamic bivariate probit model and adopting a broader definition of internationalization, this paper analyzes the dynamic interdependence of internationalization and innovation decisions at the firm level in a developing country, by using a rich panel data set of SMEs collected biannually from 2005 to 2013 in Vietnam. Our empirical results show a high persistence in process, product innovations and internationalization decisions. Furthermore, we find that, for non-micro firms (i.e. firms with at least six fulltime permanent workers), past internationalization has a positive effect on process innovation but past process innovation do not has a significant effect on internationalization decision of these firms. For this group of firms, we also find signs of cross-dependence between process innovation and internationalization decision. Our empirical results, however, does not show dynamic interdependence between internationalization and product innovation. For micro firms, we do not find any evidence relating to interdependence of internationalization and both types of innovation.
    Keywords: internationalization, process innovation, product innovation, persistence of innovation, dynamic random effect bivariate probit, SME, Vietnam
    JEL: F14 L20 O31
    Date: 2015–12
  3. By: OKAMURO, Hiroyuki; KATO, Masatoshi
    Abstract: Start-ups are expected to contribute to innovation and job creation. Several studies have been conducted so far on the determinants of employment growth, but still little is known about the differences between R&D-oriented and other start-ups. Moreover, we argue that not only the quantitative, but also the qualitative employment growth (changes in workforce composition) matters in evaluating the contributions by start-ups. We empirically examine the determinants of quantitative and qualitative employment growth in Japanese start-ups based on a unique panel dataset, comparing between R&D-oriented and other firms. Empirical results show that 1) founder's human capital (education and work experience) does not significantly affect quantitative employment growth, while work experience positively affects the share of regular workforce, 2) R&D-oriented start-ups do not differ from the other start-ups in quantitative and qualitative employment growth, and 3) public subsidies at start-up increase both quantitative and qualitative employment growth of the R&D-oriented, but not of the other start-ups.
    Keywords: Start-up, R&D-oriented firm, employment growth, workforce composition, Japan
    Date: 2015–12
  4. By: Jan Witajewski-Baltvilks (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM)); Elena Verdolini (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM) and Centro Euromediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici (CMCC)); Massimo Tavoni (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM) and Politecnico di Milano)
    Abstract: This paper applies the Directed Technical Change (DTC) framework to study improvements in the efficiency of energy use. We present a theoretical model which (1) shows that the demand for energy is shifted down by innovations in energy intensive sectors and (2) highlights the drivers of innovative activity in these sectors. We then estimate the model through an empirical analysis of patent and energy data. Our contribution is fivefold. First, our model shows that under very general assumptions information about energy expenditures, knowledge spillovers and the parameters governing the R&D process are sufficient to predict the R&D effort in efficiency improving technologies. Second, we pin down the conditions for a log-linear relation between energy expenditure and the R&D effort. Third, the calibration of the model provides clear evidence that the value of the energy market as well as international and inter-temporal spillovers play a significant role in determining the level of innovative activity. Fourth, we show that innovative activity in energy intensive sectors shifts down the (Marshallian) demand for energy. Finally, we show that due to the streamlined modelling framework we adopt, the point estimates from our regression can potentially be used to calibrate any model of DTC in the context of energy consumption.
    Keywords: Energy Efficiency, Directed Technological Change, Induced Innovations, Patents Econometrics
    JEL: O31 O33 Q43
    Date: 2015–09
  5. By: Luca Lambertini (University of Bologna, Italy); Joanna Poyago-Theotoky (La Trobe University, Australia); Alessandro Tampieri (University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg)
    Abstract: We examine the relationship between competition and innovation in an industry where production is polluting and R&D aims to reduce emissions ("green" innovation). We present an n-firm oligopoly where firms compete in quantities and decide their investment in "green" R&D. When environmental taxation is exogenous, aggregate R&D investment always increases with the number of firms in the industry. Next we analyse the case where the emission tax is set endogenously by a regulator (committed or time-consistent) with the aim to maximise social welfare. We show that an inverted-U relationship exists between aggregate R&D and industry size under reasonable conditions, and is driven by the presence of R&D spillovers.
    Keywords: "Green" R&D, R&D Spillovers, Emission Taxation, Time-Consistent Emission Tax, Pre-Commited Emission Tax
    JEL: Q55 Q56 O30 L13
    Date: 2015–08
  6. By: Maëlle Della Peruta (University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, France; GREDEG CNRS)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the adoption patterns of Mobile Money in emerging and developing countries. Starting from macroeconomic comparative and case studies realised by practitioners experts, this paper proposes a wider macroeconomic approach based on cluster analysis as an alternative strategy for assessing similarity in adoption levels. By anchoring observations from previous studies in innovation adoption and diffusion theories, this article evaluates dissimilarity between groups of countries sharing the same adoption levels. Since the results matches with hypotheses from the innovation adoption and diffusion literature, this analysis nuances the potential of Mobile Money as an inclusive financial tool fighting banking exclusion.
    Keywords: Complementary currencies, scar effect, employability, mutual credit
    JEL: G00 O33
    Date: 2015–12
  7. By: AOKI Reiko; ARAI Yasuhiro
    Abstract: We examine how a standard evolves when both a standard consortium or firm (incumbent) and an outside firm (potential entrant) innovate to improve the technology. The incumbent improves to deter entry, and the entrant can invest to counter the incumbent's attempt. We show that only when the technology is mature and inertia is sufficiently low will there be entry leading to the coexistence of both standards. When the technology is in its infancy, the incumbent deters entry by technology improvement (upgrade) for any level of inertia. The entrant is never able to drive the incumbent out of the market (replacement). Our results suggest that competition policy to control inertia is not a substitute for policies to promote technological innovation, and that coordination of the two policies is essential.
    Date: 2015–12
  8. By: KOBAYASHI, Daisuke
    Abstract: It has been the consensus among researchers that Schumpeter clearly distinguished the notions of innovation and invention, even neglecting the notion of invention in his work. Consequently, there has been very little effort made to tackle the relationship between Schumpeter’s development theory and the invention theories that were popular in the fields of anthropology and archaeology at that time, making it difficult to grasp how Schumpeter elaborated his own development theory. However, a close examination of his early works demonstrates that Schumpeter’s development theory can also be understood in the context of the debates surrounding the notion of invention. In Theorie der wirtschaftlichen Entwicklung, Schumpeter presented his static agent/innovator dyad with reference to ideas or terms used in the debates of invention being conducted around that time by anthropologists and archaeologists. In the present paper, the author seeks to depict the history of the concept of invention, helped by the work of Benoît Godin, and discusses how Schumpeter presented his development theory based on the ideas involved in the invention debates.
    Keywords: invention, evolutionism, diffusionism, unilinear development, psychic unity,
    Date: 2015–11
  9. By: Antonescu, Daniela
    Abstract: During the last period, innovation represented the core topic of a wide number of studies and analyses due to the potential impact it could have on the development level of a country or a region. This aspect is relatively easy to explain: innovation represents an important source of regional/national competitiveness, a modern factor of growth and economic resilience, but also the fundamental objective of the current programming period and of the Europe 2020 Strategy. According to theory, innovation is a process that takes place predominantly at micro-economic level. Still, its approach at regional level gains increasingly more room within economic approaches starting from the premise that innovative performances of a company depend directly and to a large share on the endogenous local potential, but also on a combination of factors of influence, determined by the specifics and conditions of the area. The study intends to analyse from the theoretical and practical viewpoint the role of the innovation process within economic development and growth at regional and national level.
    Keywords: innovation, research, regional development, Strategy 2020, innovative region
    JEL: O3 O38 R1 R10 R12 R58
    Date: 2015–11–03
  10. By: Erin Baker (University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA, United States); Valentina Bosetti (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei and Bocconi University, Italy); Laura Diaz Anadon (Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, United States); Max Henrion (Lumina Decision Systems, Los Gatos, CA, United States); Lara Aleluia Reis (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, Italy)
    Abstract: In this paper we standardize, compare, and aggregate results from thirteen surveys of technology experts, performed over a period of five years using a range of different methodologies, but all aiming at eliciting expert judgment on the future cost of five key energy technologies and how future costs might be influenced by public R&D investments. To enable researchers and policy makers to use the wealth of collective knowledge obtained through these expert elicitations we develop and present a set of assumptions to harmonize them. We also aggregate expert estimates within each study and across studies to facilitate the comparison. The analysis showed that, as expected, technology costs are expected to go down by 2030 with increasing levels of R&D investments, but that there is not a high level of agreement between individual experts or between studies regarding the technology areas that would benefit the most from R&D investments. This indicates that further study of prospective cost data may be useful to further inform R&D investments. We also found that the contributions of additional studies to the variance of costs in one technology area differed by technology area, suggesting that (barring new information about the downsides of particular forms of elicitations) there may be value in not only including a diverse and relatively large group of experts, but also in using different methods to collect estimates.
    Keywords: Expert Elicitation, Energy Technology Cost, R&D Investments
    JEL: O30 O32 Q40 Q55
    Date: 2015–05
  11. By: Jeroen P. J. De Jong; Sharon K. Parker; Sander Wennekers; Chia-Huei Wu
    Abstract: We take a first step to explore how organizational factors influence individual entrepreneurial behavior at work, by investigating the role of job design variables. Drawing on multiple-source survey data of 179 workers in a Dutch research and consultancy organization, we find that entrepreneurial behavior, indicated by innovation, proactivity, and risk-taking items, is a higher order construct. Job autonomy is positively related with entrepreneurial behavior, as well as its innovation and proactivity subdimensions, while job variety is not. This suggests that interventions related to the vertical scope of jobs will promote entrepreneurial behaviors more than horizontal job expansion
    JEL: R14 J01
    Date: 2015
  12. By: Bryson, Alex; Forth, John
    Abstract: The 2008 Great Recession was notable in the UK for three things: the enormity of the output shock; the muted unemployment response; and the very slow rate of recovery. We review the literature which finds most of the decline in productivity is within sector and within firm before presenting new micro-analysis of workplace-level behaviour between 2004 and 2011 to gain insights into the processes that may have contributed to this aggregate picture. We find clear evidence of labour intensification but employers appeared incapable of turning this effort into improved workplace level productivity. Widespread pay freezes and cuts were often initiated in direct response to the recession. Workplace closure rates were little different to those experienced prior to the recession, but there is some evidence of a "cleansing" effect with poorer performing workplaces being more likely to close. There is some evidence of labour "hoarding", especially hoarding of high skilled labour: this has had no discernible impact on the rate of innovation. There is no impact of recession on either the number of HRM practices workplaces invested in, nor their returns on those investments. There is no evidence that workplaces have benefitted from Britain's "flexible" labour market as indicated by using recruitment channels used by welfare recipients or the use of numerically flexible workers. On the contrary, workplaces with increasing unionisation appeared to benefit in terms of improved workplace performance.
    Keywords: productivity, recession
    Date: 2015–06
  13. By: Kristina Volkonitskaia (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: The working paper is based on research findings concerning the functioning of 35 Russian technology parks in 2013 – the first half of 2015. The analysis of the performance of these technology parks has been carried out on the basis of the CANVAS framework, proposed by Osterwalder and Pine in 2010. The research was conducted in the domain of 9 key blocks business model of technology parks, including infrastructure and services provided, companies’ residents, cooperation with partners, including regional and federal authorities, scientific and education institutions, financial and economic indicators of technoparks and key performance indicators used. On the basis of empirical data 7 business models of functioning of Russian technology parks were revealed, including IT-park, university park, 2 types of facilitators of innovation processes in a region and 3 types of entrepreneurial technoparks. The classification allows differentiating the nature and level of support of technology parks as objects of innovation infrastructure. Detailed profile of business models reveals the competitive advantages and weaknesses of technoparks, as well as mechanisms to improve the efficiency of these objects of innovation infrastructure
    Keywords: innovative infrastructure, technopark, business-model, research and development, regional development, regional innovative system, value creation
    JEL: O32 O38 R58
    Date: 2015
  14. By: Erin Baker (Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA); Olaitan Olaleye (Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA); Lara Aleluia Reis (Centro Euro-Mediterraneo per i Cambiamenti Climatici, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM))
    Abstract: In this paper we provide an overview of decision frameworks aimed at crafting an energy technology Research & Development portfolio, based on the results of three large expert elicitation studies and a large scale energy-economic model. We introduce importance sampling as a technique for integrating elicitation data and large IAMs into decision making under uncertainty models. We show that it is important to include both parts of this equation – the prospects for technological advancement and the interactions of the technologies in and with the economy. We find that investment in energy technology R&D is important even in the absence of climate policy. We illustrate the value of considering dynamic two-stage sequential decision models under uncertainty for identifying alternatives with option value. Finally, we consider two frameworks that incorporate ambiguity aversion. We suggest that these results may be best used to guide future research aimed at improving the set of elicitation data.
    Keywords: Decision Making Under Uncertainty, Climate Change, Stabilization Pathways, Energy technology, Ambiguity Aversion
    JEL: Q42
    Date: 2015–05
  15. By: Harker, Patrick T. (Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia)
    Abstract: President Patrick T. Harker gives opening remarks at the Bank’s 2015 Policy Forum: The New Normal for the U.S. Economy. He highlights how technology/innovation, social issues, and monetary policy all have important implications for policy over the long term. He also shares his own policy perspectives.
    Keywords: Technology; Innovation; Economy;
    Date: 2015–12–04
  16. By: Aravena, Claudio; Hofman, André A.; Fernández de Guevara, Juan; Mas, Matilde (Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL) United Nations)
    Abstract: This paper develops a framework to analyze the potential of different variables to increase total factor productivity (TFP) growth in countries with poor productivity performance. It takes an industry level approach for a set of countries used as a benchmark. The information comes from the EU KLEMS and LA KLEMS databases. Once this influence is measured, the difference in the scores of each variable in four Latin American countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico) with respect to the benchmark is used to test their potential for increasing productivity growth. Results show that, the top priorities for these four countries are to improve the labour market, to reduce the share of self-employed people and to modernize the functioning of their economic systems. Our results also indicate that the intensification of investment in ICT and R&D activities is a key instrument for promoting growth. Public policies should also aim to encourage a higher endowment of Internet infrastructures and their use.
    Date: 2014–06
  17. By: Agota David (Regional Centre for Information and Scientific Development); Tamas Szigetvari (Institute of World Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences)
    Abstract: The Turkish economy has shown remarkable economic performance over the last decade. Currently, it is the 18th largest economy in the world. To increase its competitiveness, Turkey set research and development as a priority area for the next decade, with the ambitious goal of reaching 3% of GERD/GDP by 2023. Despite several controversies about the EU accession process in general, Turkey is an active member of the European research area. It is an associated member of the RDI Framework Programmes since 2002, it participated in and coordinated various scientific projects, policy-coordination actions, mobility programmes and won grants for excellent researchers. In the Turkish national STI strategy for 2011-2016, the three vertical and six horizontal axes consist of various scientific areas like ICT, Energy, Defence, Water, Food, which have been also set as priority areas in the European H2020 programme. We would like to focus in our article on possible synergies between priority areas, as well as on the role of SMEs in the innovation chain, which are enjoying a special attention in both Horizon 2020 and in Turkish national science and economic policy.
    Keywords: Turkey; cooperation; research and development; Science, Technology and Innovation policy; Horizon 2020; middle income trap.
    JEL: F42 H52 I23 O14 O32
    Date: 2015–11
  18. By: Antonios Garas; Celine Rozenblat; Frank Schweitzer
    Abstract: How are economic activities linked to geographic locations? To answer this question, we use a data-driven approach that builds on the information about location, ownership and economic activities of the world's 3,000 largest firms and their almost one million subsidiaries. From this information we generate a bipartite network of cities linked to economic activities. Analysing the structure of this network, we find striking similarities with nested networks observed in ecology, where links represent mutualistic interactions between species. This motivates us to apply ecological indicators to identify the unbalanced deployment of economic activities. Such deployment can lead to an over-representation of specific economic sectors in a given city, and poses a significant thread for the city's future especially in times when the over-represented activities face economic uncertainties. If we compare our analysis with external rankings about the quality of life in a city, we find that the nested structure of the city-firm network also reflects such information about the quality of life, which can usually be assessed only via dedicated survey-based indicators.
    Date: 2015–12
  19. By: - (Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL) United Nations)
    Abstract: The objective of this report is to understand the rationality that underpins public and business policies for promoting the IT and SIS industries and to determine whether they incorporate gender equality and/or provide incentives for women’s participation. The report also explores how this group of women is symbolically constructed within the firms, what issues are emphasized by the women themselves and what solutions or resources they propose for overcoming the problems. It then contrasts this discourse and intervention with the experiences, visions and demands of women leaders in the SIS sector. For this purpose, the policies, programmes and best practices of Europe are analysed and compared with instruments currently in place in Latin America and the Caribbean, in terms of their specific characteristics and degree of progress. Special attention is given to the cases of Argentina, Costa Rica and Colombia.
    Date: 2014–11
  20. By: Zuazu Bermejo, Izaskun
    Abstract: This paper investigates whether the effect of political institutions on sectoral economic performance is determined by the level of technological development of industries. Building on previous studies on the linkages among political institutions, technology and economic growth, we employ the dynamic panel Generalized Method of Moments (GMM) estimator for a sample of 4,134 country-industries from 61 industries and 89 countries over the 1990-2010 period. Our main findings suggest that changes of political institutions towards higher levels of democracy, political rights and civil liberties enhance economic growth in technologically developed industries. On the contrary, the same institutional changes might retard economic growth of those industries that are below a technological development threshold. Overall, these results give evidence of a technologically conditioned nature of political institutions to be growth-promoting.
    Keywords: political, development, develogical, dynamic, panel, institutions, technological, data
    JEL: H70 O10 O43 P16 C23
    Date: 2015–10
  21. By: Cimoli, Mario; Porcile, Gabriel (Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL) United Nations)
    Abstract: The microfoundations of economic models are a hotly debated topic in the literature. The debate is important because microfoundations —the ways in which agents decide and behave— have implications that go beyond a specific firm, market or activity; they strongly condition macroeconomic outcomes. This document addresses the classical problems of rationality, uncertainty and institutions: when there is Keynes-Knight uncertainty and rationality is bounded, decision making adopts the form of conventional rules or heuristics. The hyper-rational representative agent of the rational expectations world could generate highly misleading outcomes in macro models. Section 2 applies this discussion to the study of technical change and to innovation and diffusion of technology in the international system, which transform the patterns of specialization. Section 3 discusses the forces that may trap a country in a low-growth trap and the crucial role of institutions in escaping from this trap.
    Date: 2015–01
  22. By: Yvon Pesqueux (LIRSA - Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire de Recherche en Sciences de l'Action - Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers [CNAM])
    Abstract: synthèse des approches de l'entrepreneur et de l'entrepreneuriat
    Keywords: entrepreneur, entrepreneuriat
    Date: 2015–11–29
  23. By: Helmsing, A.H.J.; Knorringa, P.; Gomez Gonzalez, D.
    Abstract: In this paper we aim to contribute to the literature on social entrepreneurship by nuancing both existing micro-level characterizations as well as its presumed macro level societal impacts. Moreover, we explore connections between the micro and macro levels of analysis to see which types of social entrepreneurs are more likely to achieve what kinds of societal impacts. We present findings from an illustrative sample of 28 interviews with Dutch social entrepreneurs working in International Development. At the micro level, our qualitative findings do not support a perception of social entrepreneurs – often found in the Anglo Saxon literature - as heroic ‘lone rangers’ who ‘go it alone’ and with ‘dogged determination’ fight for a self-defined social cause. Instead, most social entrepreneurs in our study are acutely aware of the need to cooperate with other stakeholders and often use existing ‘off the shelf’ social causes and theories of change, even when they do develop innovative ways to try and achieve these goals. At the macro level, two starkly contrasting views exist on the possible societal impacts of social entrepreneurs. The first is an, often implicit, extension of the ‘lone-ranger’ perception of social entrepreneurs as people who ‘change the world’ or at least significantly contribute to social and economic transformation. At the other end of the spectrum in the literature we find those who argue that social entrepreneurs are potentially counterproductive to international development interventions as their social mission is not the result of a ‘collective deliberative process’, their activities are likely to displace NGO and/or government interventions and might even give governments an excuse to not intervene and ignore deeper levels of political contestation and societal inequalities. The paper is structured as follows. We first explain the rise in social entrepreneurship in international development, and we introduce the central assumptions in the literature on how social entrepreneurs define their social mission and on their likely societal impact. Next we present our data to show that our interviews do not support existing assumptions about the characteristics of social entrepreneurs nor about their possible societal impacts. Finally, we explore the usefulness of the typology proposed by Zahra et al, and we conclude that this typology indeed helps to further systematize a more nuanced understanding of the characteristics and likely roles of social entrepreneurs.
    Keywords: Dutch social entrepreneurs, international development, social enterprise, social entrepreneurship
    Date: 2015–12–04

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