Entrepreneurship and Human Development: A Capability Approach

Thomas Gries, Wim Naudé*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We provide a formal model of entrepreneurship in human development. The framework is provided by the capabilities approach (ca). Hence we extend not only the conceptualisation of entrepreneurship in development, but the reach of the ca into entrepreneurship. From a ca view, entrepreneurship is not only a production factor, or a means to an end, as is often taken to be the case by economists, but also an end in itself. Entrepreneurship can be a human functioning and can contribute towards expanding the set of human capabilities through being both a resource and a process. Our model shows, however, that entrepreneurship is not automatically a functioning. Where it is a necessity it stops being a valued functioning. The model also shows that even when entrepreneurship is valued, entrepreneurs may often not match their ideas with suitable opportunities. Policy implications are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-224
JournalJournal of Public Economics
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2011

JEL classifications

  • l26 - Entrepreneurship
  • m13 - "New Firms; Startups"
  • o12 - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
  • o15 - "Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration"


  • capability approach
  • entrepreneurship
  • human development

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