A ‘value’ and ‘economics’ grounded analysis of six value creation based entrepreneurial education initiatives

Last week I wrote an article for the 3E ECSB entrepreneurship education conference due in May in Leeds. I was short on time, so I took some ideas from my recently finished PhD thesis and applied them to six empirical cases I have been studying over the last couple of years. I had previously developed a value framework consisting of five different kinds of value, and an economics framework consisting of three different kinds of economics. I applied these frameworks to analyze six empirical cases from primary, secondary and higher education. Five of the cases were from Sweden and one was from Turkey.

It turned out quite interesting, with a number of commonalities as well as differences being empirically illustrated. I had not expected enjoyment value to be so common, but it indeed was – even in one of the cases that focuses primarily on economic value. I also found some interesting differences between venture creation based initiatives and value creation based initiatives. I had previously stated that venture creation is more complex than value creation, but here it really was evident how much more complicated it is to let students start a real-life venture. And given that similar student engagement levels can obviously be reached with value creation (see the strong student quotes), this added a rather compelling argument for working with value creation – same effect but way less complex. Not that venture creation doesn’t work, but that value creation works too but at a much much lower cost in terms of complexity, resources and teacher time.

By writing the article I also clarified my thinking around what I have chosen to label “educational economics”. I haven’t seen this concept discussed previously. If any of you readers have seen something similar, please let me know. I define educational economics as a means-based, non-market / non-price, relationship based and learning oriented economic behavior (see the table in the article, contrasting it to entrepreneurial and neoclassical economics). It is based on a very broad definition of economics, articulated in the 1930:s by Robbins: “human behavior as a relationship between ends and scarce means”. So just as entrepreneurship has a narrow and a wide definition, so does economics seem to have. And that is a parallell I haven’t thought about or read about before.

I’ve put the paper online, so you can read it by downloading it here. Any comments appreciated as usual. Here or by emailing me or Tweeting me.

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