Call for Papers: Austrian Entrepreneurship Theory

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Special Issue of The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics:

Submission window: March 15 – April 15, 2020
Guest editor: Per Bylund, School of Entrepreneurship, Oklahoma State University


Austrian economics is a widely respected body of theory in management broadly (e.g., Jacobson, 1992) and, especially, in entrepreneurship (Klein & Bylund, 2014). Indeed, entrepreneurship theory attempts to understand the entrepreneurial opportunity, following the works by Venkataraman (1997), Shane and Venkataraman (2000), and Shane (2003). This so-called individual-opportunity nexus builds on the theories of Israel Kirzner (1973, 1997, 2009), an Austrian economist, and Joseph Schumpeter (1934, [1942] 1947), trained by prominent Austrian economists. It has generated a vast literature that is focused on discussing the nature of opportunities, whether they are discovered (as per Kirzner and Shane) or created through an enactment process (Alvarez & Barney, 2007). More recently, the ‘Austrian’ influence continues as one of the challengers to entrepreneurial opportunity theory is the so-called judgment-based approach (Foss & Klein, 2012; 2015; Foss, Klein & Bjørnskov, 2019; McMullen, 2015), inspired by Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises (1998) and ‘proto-Austrian’ Richard Cantillon ([1755] 1931). Without exaggerating, therefore, the Austrian school of economics has provided fertile theoretical ground to plant seeds for the burgeoning and growing field of entrepreneurship. Despite this common ground, Austrian economists have done little to learn from and integrate entrepreneurship scholarship, and entrepreneurship scholars have likewise refrained from considering the fuller Austrian theory as framework for their research. This special issue is intended to support further mutual learning and theory development, if not integration of theories, by facilitating scholarly dis- course where Austrian economics and entrepreneurship theory intersect and overlap.


Both the field of entrepreneurship and the Austrian school of economics are presently at ‘critical junctures’. In entrepreneurship, after some three decades of theorizing on the entrepreneurial opportunity, scholars have started considering alternative approaches such as studying judgment through uncertain investments (Klein, 2008) and new venture ideas (Davidsson, 2015). At the same time, the influence of alternative theories such as effectuation theory (Sarasvathy, 2001) have been growing, leaving the field without an obvious way forward.

Similarly, Austrian economics has, after decades of decline and marginalization, regained some of its former influence and — following the financial crisis — its attractiveness among the public as well as scholars out of the economics mainstream. Yet for the school to again become a major influence in economics and beyond, it needs to meet the new challenges and questions with new theory development (e.g., Bylund, 2016).

While overlapping with respect to both subject matter and theory, entrepreneurship scholars have been hesitant to enter Austrian discourse and Austrian economists have largely refrained from contributing to the entrepreneurship literature. There is much to gain from addressing this overlap: entrepreneurship theory could overcome many theoretical problems by considering Austrian economic theory for asking new questions, answering hitherto seemingly unanswerable questions, and solving disagreements and disputes regarding theoretical explanations; and Austrian economists could draw from the entrepreneurship literature to further strengthen and elaborate on the microfoundations for entrepreneurship and the market process.

The timing is thus right for pursuing Austrian themes and further leveraging Austrian theory in entrepreneurship, and for extending and elaborating on Austrian entrepreneurship theory.

Submission Process and Deadlines

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