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Government Incentives for Entrepreneurship

Josh Lerner


This chapter is a preliminary draft unless otherwise noted. It may not have been subjected to the formal review process of the NBER. This page will be updated as the chapter is revised.

Chapter in forthcoming NBER book Innovation and Public Policy, Austan Goolsbee and Benjamin Jones, editors
Forthcoming from University of Chicago Press

In the dozen years since the Global Financial Crisis, there has been a surge of interest on the part of governments in promoting entrepreneurial activity, largely by providing financing. This essay explores these policies, focusing on financial incentives to entrepreneurs and the intermediaries who fund them. The motivation for these efforts is clear: the well-documented relationships between economic growth, innovation, entrepreneurship and venture capital. Yet despite good intentions, many of these public initiatives have ended in disappointment. I argue that these failures have not simply been a matter of bad luck. Instead, the unfortunate outcomes have reflected the fundamental structural issues that make it difficult for governments to launch sustained successful efforts to promote entrepreneurship over sustained periods. I highlight several critical challenges, and outline two principles that might render these efforts more effective

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This chapter first appeared as NBER working paper w26884, Government Incentives for Entrepreneurship, Josh Lerner
 
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