Small Business Economics

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 757–774 | Cite as

The knowledge spillover theory of entrepreneurship

  • Zoltan J. Acs
  • David B. Audretsch
  • Erik E. LehmannEmail author


According to the knowledge spillover theory of entrepreneurship, the context in which decision-making is derived can influence one’s determination to become an entrepreneur. In particular, a context that is rich in knowledge generates entrepreneurial opportunities from those ideas. By commercializing ideas that evolved from an incumbent organization via the creation of a new firm, the entrepreneur (human capital) not only serves as a conduit for the spillover of knowledge, but also for the ensuing innovative activity and enhanced economic performance through resource allocation. The knowledge spillover theory of entrepreneurship brings together contemporary theories and thoughts of entrepreneurship with prevailing theories of economic growth, geography, and strategy and therefore explains not just why some people choose to become an entrepreneur, but also why this matters significantly for the economy and society.


Knowledge Knowledge spillovers Absorptive capacity Uncertainty Competition Endogenous growth 

JEL Classifications

J24 L26 M13 O3 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zoltan J. Acs
    • 1
  • David B. Audretsch
    • 2
  • Erik E. Lehmann
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.George Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  2. 2.Indiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  3. 3.Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, GBM & CCSEAugsburg UniversityAugsburgGermany

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