Good Judgment, Good Luck: Frank Fetter’s Neglected Theory of Entrepreneurship

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

258 Downloads (Pure)


Frank Fetter’s contributions to entrepreneurship and the theory of the firm are usually overlooked although his original treatments are relevant to both the history of economic thought and contemporary entrepreneurship research. This article highlights three ways in which Fetter’s work adds to our understanding of the entrepreneurial process. First, entrepreneurs direct their enterprises through the careful delegation of authority to managers, thereby maintaining residual control over the firm; similar views were pioneered by Frank Knight and the Austrian economists who continue to study cognate problems like judgmental decision making and proxy-entrepreneurship. Second, Fetter foreshadows Knight’s influential distinction between risk and uncertainty by arguing that entrepreneurs bear uncertainty through their investment decisions. However, Fetter extends Knight’s work by explicitly considering the role that chance and luck play in entrepreneurial success, a problem still debated in entrepreneurship studies. Third, Fetter argues that scarcity implies the active investment of resources, and thus the need for entrepreneurship. This view hints at current research on entrepreneurial bricolage as well as work emphasizing investment rather than opportunity as the defining concept of entrepreneurship. It also provides the microfoundations for strategic entrepreneurship research.
Original languageEnglish
JournalReview of Political Economy
Early online date19 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


Dive into the research topics of 'Good Judgment, Good Luck: Frank Fetter’s Neglected Theory of Entrepreneurship'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this