Three essays on entrepreneurship theory and practice
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] This dissertation investigates entrepreneurship theory through the perspective of empirical study, case study, and the history of economic thought. The first essay explores the influence of a founder-owner's political connection on the ownership structure of Chinese Privately Owned Enterprises (POEs). We hypothesize a U-shaped relationship between the strength of the founder-owner's prior political connection and corporate ownership concentration by combining the efficiency and legitimacy effects, and present evidence consistent with this relationship. The second essay is a case study on Dairy United, one of the fastest growing and most innovative dairy organizations in China. Unlike most corporate and cooperative dairies that purchase cows on the market, Dairy United leases dairy cows from local farmers, which is a typical instance of organizational innovation in China under the background of structural change in the dairy sector. Its implications apply to the agricultural sector in general, especially how to transform it from being dispersed, small-scale, labor-intensive to being large-scale, capital-intensive, and how to organize agricultural organizations efficiently to tackle the challenges of food safety in China. The third essay explores the neglected entrepreneurship theory proposed by Herbert J. Davenport. Davenport's contribution to entrepreneurship theory is worth revisiting because it opens a new and unique frontier of entrepreneurship study -- a realistic entrepreneurship theory, and provides an instructive example of how to bring the protagonist, the entrepreneur, back to economic theory. The contribution of this dissertation lies in using various methods to study entrepreneurship theory, discussing why it matters in practice, and highlighting how it can be explored based on a more solid theoretical foundation.
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