, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 19-42

Entrepreneurship and corporate governance

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The main message of this article is that Austrians can continue to work within the contractual, or Coasian, approach to the firm in elaborating the insights discussed above. In particular, the problem of corporate governance, and the corollary view that firms are investments, belongs at the forefront of Austrian research on the theory of the firm. Emphasis should thus be placed on the plans and actions of the capitalist-entrepreneur.

A particularly undeveloped area concerns the provision of capital to small, “entrepreneurial” ventures. Most of the literature on governance focuses on the large corporation, and the use of stock and bond markets to govern these organizations. Equally important, however, are smaller, privately held firms, financed with venture capital or other forms of investment. So far, the firm-as-investment literature has said little about these organizations, despite their growing importance, particularly in high-growth, technologically-advanced industries like software and biotechnology. Further research in this area is sorely needed.

Earlier versions of this article were presented at George Mason University’s “Seminars in Austrian Economics IV: Inside the Black Box,” October 1997; the Austrian Scholars Conference 4, Auburn University, April 1998; and Copenhagen Business School’s RESPECT workshop, November 1998.