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The 22nd Annual Conference of the European Society for the History of Economic Thought (ESHET) will take place in Madrid, at Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 7-9 June 2018. Proposals for papers or sessions on all aspects of the history of economic thought are welcome.

Note that: a) published papers are not eligible for submission; b) only one conference presentation is allowed per person, but more than one submission may be accepted, if involving co-authors who are also presenting; c) session proposals must conform to a standard format (3 papers, 90 min).

Particularly welcome are proposals of papers and sessions that fall into the ESHET 2018 conference theme: “Entrepreneurship, knowledge and employment”. However, papers may be on any topic relevant to the history of economic thought, and are not restricted to the conference theme. An abstract of about 400 words for a paper and 600 words for a session should be submitted on the conference website (Submission & Registration at http://www.eshet-conference.net/madrid) no later than January 31th, 2018.

Special Theme:  Entrepreneurship, Knowledge and Employment

Credit for coining the term “entrepreneur” goes usually to the French economists Richard Cantillon and Jean Baptiste Say. The first described the entrepreneur as a risk-taker, relating his reward to the capitalist profit, and the other described him as a “planner,” relating his reward to a wage of direction and inspection. Karl Marx stressed that entrepreneurs cannot escape from the inherent contradictions of capitalism. Joseph Schumpeter saw the entrepreneur as a person willing to convert a new invention into a successful innovation, thereby becoming the principal agent of the creative destruction of old industries in dynamic disequilibrium. Austrian economics tend to give great importance to the role of the entrepreneur in economics, as he is willing to act under “true uncertainty”. John Maynard Keynes distinguished between the entrepreneur economy and the co-operative economy.

In recent times, the process of designing, launching and running a new business has been emphasized as a way of creating activity, knowledge and employment. However, a significant proportion of start-ups have to close down due to the high risks involved, to lack of funding, lack of demand, bad business decisions, or economic crisis. Some defend the need of paternalism on entrepreneurship through incubation of businesses and “coachability”. In the 2000s, the definition of “entrepreneurship” expanded to that of leadership and to the role of identification, evaluation and exploitation of opportunities. Differences in institutions, culture and habits have led to the identification of a variety entrepreneurial spirits. This has produced different views on the relationships between entrepreneurial behaviour and the organizational form, size and age of the firms which they manage, on their role in non-profit organizations and in formal as well as in informal markets.

Clearly, there is a role for historians of economic thought to illuminate the place of the entrepreneurship, knowledge and employment in the history of economics. Besides, the topic is of interest to more than just historians of thought. The theme of the 2018 conference therefore confirms ESHET’s belief that the study of the history of economic thought should in no way be disconnected from current issues in economics and beyond, and could in fact help provide historical perspectives on standard views about the subject.

Special attention will therefore be granted to proposals which enrich views on the relationships between entrepreneurship, knowledge and employment in the history of economic thought, from the origins up to today. Examples include:
• The concept of the entrepreneur
• Entrepreneurship, the market and the state and their roles in the acquisition of economic knowledge
• Entrepreneurship and risk
• The importance of organization for employment
• Entrepreneurship related to self-employment or dependent employment
• Policies for solving unemployment and creating activity

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