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Toward a Theory of the Political Entrepreneur: Evidence from Local Government

  • Mark Schneider (a1) and Paul Teske (a1)

Political scientists have been increasingly interested in entrepreneurs—individuals who change the direction and flow of politics. In this research note, we synthesize aspects of an economic approach to entrepreneurship with concepts used in political science. We then tie these theoretical observations to the emergence of entrepreneurs in local governments and test components of our theory using observations from a large set of suburban municipal governments. Empirically, we identify several conditions that affect the probability that an entrepreneur will emerge in a local government, especially slack budgetary resources that the political entrepreneur can reallocate. We also find that the probability with which an entrepreneur is found in local government is a function of the difficulty of overcoming collective action problems in a community.

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American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
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