Government acts as entrepreneur when its involvement in market activities is both innovative and characterized by entrepreneurial risk. Thinking of government as entrepreneur is a unique lens through which we characterize in this book a specific subset of government policy actions. As such, our viewpoint underscores the purposeful intent of government, its ability to act in new and innovative ways, and its willingness to undertake policy actions that have uncertain outcomes. Viewing particular policy actions through an entrepreneurial lens could be useful in at least two broad dimensions. First, viewing particular government policy actions as entrepreneurial underscores the forward looking nature of policy makers as well as the need to evaluate the social outputs and outcomes of their behavior in terms of broad spillover impacts. Second, government acting as entrepreneur parallels in concept similar activities that occur in the private sector. The concept of government as entrepreneur is developed in this book using as a backdrop the intellectual history of the entrepreneur - what he/she does and why. The authors" viewpoint is then illustrated using six specific U.S. public policy examples ranging from the Biomass Research and Development Initiative to the Small Business Innovation Research program.
Government as Entrepreneur will serve as a vehicle for policy makers and scholars to think about entrepreneurship, or more specifically the entrepreneurial actors in an economy, in a new way.