Understanding pandemic entrepreneurship as a unique form of crisis entrepreneurship

There is a large literature about crisis entrepreneurship, spanning from necessity, natural disaster and long-term conflict entrepreneurship. This paper situates pandemic entrepreneurship as a unique form of crisis entrepreneurship. The authors utilize the Kirznerian and Schumpeterian theories of entrepreneurship to understand pandemic entrepreneurship. Using evidence from the US COVID-19 pandemic, the authors argue that pandemics impact both the “identification” and “action” moments of entrepreneurship. The Kirznerian identification moment becomes much more uncertain for entrepreneurs because of fluctuating conditions, such as public health conditions, new potential variants of the virus causing the pandemic, shifting government mandates and rules and so forth. The Schumpeterian action moment becomes more challenging because of the necessity of physical distancing and because, generally, all crises raise the cost of entrepreneurial action. That said, the authors still document considerable entrepreneurship during pandemics as entrepreneurs adapt to the increased uncertainty and costs by rely upon local and customary knowledge.

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