Can Public-Funded Entrepreneurship Work?

January 19, 2010

By Dwyer Gunn – Freakonomics

In recent months, the U.S. government has taken on a challenging and controversial new role: private sector investor. This development has raised a host of questions about the government’s role in the economy and a new book by Josh Lerner, Boulevard of Broken Dreams: Why Public Efforts to Boost Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Have Failed — and What to Do About It, is required reading for anyone hoping to understand the issues.

Lerner, the Jacob H. Schiff Professor of Investment Banking at Harvard Business School, describes government interventions in countries as varied as the U.S., Singapore, and Israel, and explains the case for intervention. His analysis of successful and unsuccessful programs worldwide ultimately suggests a cautious approach to government intervention that bears little resemblance to the reality of today.

He has agreed to answer some of our questions about his book: http://tinyurl.com/yewavt9

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