Small Business Economics

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 339–354 | Cite as

Scientific Paradigms, Entrepreneurial Opportunities and Cycles in Economic Growth

  • Mark SandersEmail author
Open Access


In this paper I present a model of economic growth that combines insights from endogenous growth theory, the field of entrepreneurship research and the philosophy and economics of science. The model is built on three relatively standard assumptions and a Kuhnian approach to scientific knowledge accumulation. I assume that innovation generates economic growth, that opportunity driven entrepreneurship is an important source of innovation, that entrepreneurial opportunities increasingly arise out of scientific knowledge creation and that science follows Kuhnian paradigm shifting dynamics. The model then generates opportunity driven cycles in entrepreneurial activity that in turn cause waves of innovation and cycles in economic growth. This result is highly relevant and fills a gap in all three literatures as ‚traditional’ endogenous growth models typically generate constant growth rates in the steady state, entrepreneurship research keeps the origin of entrepreneurial opportunity exogenous and the literatures on the philosophy and economics of science ignore the important downstream economic implications of the non-profit driven institutional framework that governs scientific knowledge accumulation. This paper contributes by identifying scientific institutions and entrepreneurial activity as prerequisites for economic growth and it offers a tentative explanation for the rise and fall in the levels of scientific, entrepreneurial and economic activity over the Kondratieff-cycle.


endogenous growth theory entrepreneurship paradigms scientific institutions 


E32 L26 M13 O11 O31 O41 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tjalling Koopmans InstituteUtrecht UniversityUtrechtNetherlands
  2. 2.Evolutionary Economics GroupMax Planck Institute of EconomicsJenaGermany

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