Despite their presence in modern entrepreneurship theories, empirical investigations of opportunity types are scarce. We develop a 5-dimensional bipolar scale to measure the extent in which opportunities are Schumpeterian or Kirznerian. Drawing on this measure, we examine the shape of the opportunity distribution in relation to the environment and the characteristics of individuals who exploit them. Across a sample of 181 new products introduced by high-tech entrepreneurs, we find that pure Schumpeterian and Kirznerian types are rare, but rather opportunities display varying degrees of membership to one or the other type. The distribution is more skewed toward Schumpeterian opportunities for larger ventures, with a strategic focus on future needs, and operating in growing markets. In contrast, Kirznerian opportunities are more frequently pursued by small ventures, and by entrepreneurs that are young, with a strategic focus on present needs, and who are less innovative in their behavior.

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ERIM Top-Core Articles
Small Business Economics: an entrepreneurship journal
Erasmus University Rotterdam

de Jong, J., & Marsili, O. (2015). The distribution of Schumpeterian and Kirznerian opportunities. Small Business Economics: an entrepreneurship journal, 44(1), 19–35. doi:10.1007/s11187-014-9585-1