The Historical Footprint of the Theory of the Entrepreneur: Lessons Drawn from Jean-Baptiste Say’s and Joseph Aloïs Schumpeter’s Analyses

By Sophie Boutillier, Dimitri Uzunidis

Jean-Baptiste Say and Joseph Aloïs Schumpeter are two key economists of the theory of the entrepreneur. They both attribute to the entrepreneur a driving economic role rooted in innovation. Moreover, both have lived through periods rich in new economic and political ideas (Say: The French Revolution, The Empire of Napoléon, The Bourbon Restoration, The First Industrial Revolution; Schumpeter: The Two World Wars, The Bolshevik Revolution, The 1929 Crisis, The Second Industrial Revolution). Their theories, embedded in troubled periods, have presented an individual who shuns routines (economic, social, political, and technical). Nevertheless, an important point sets them apart: Say describes a real entrepreneur, while Schumpeter’s is reduced to an ideal type. JEL Codes : B12, L26


  • Jean-Baptiste Say
  • Joseph Aloïs Schumpeter
  • entrepreneur
  • industrialization
Go to the article on