Small Business Economics

, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 95–113 | Cite as

Evasive entrepreneurship

  • Niklas Elert
  • Magnus HenreksonEmail author


We argue that evasive entrepreneurship is an important, although underrated, source of innovation, and provide the first systematic discussion of the concept. We define evasive entrepreneurship as profit-driven business activity in the market aimed at circumventing the existing institutional framework by using innovations to exploit contradictions in that framework. We formulate four propositions of evasive entrepreneurship and illustrate them with a number of real-life examples, ranging from a secret agreement among Chinese farmers in the 1970s to activities of rides-for-hire start-ups in the modern sharing economy. We demonstrate that while evasive entrepreneurship can either be productive, unproductive, or destructive, it may prevent economic development from being stifled by existing institutions during times of rapid economic change. Furthermore, it can spur institutional change with important welfare effects.


Entrepreneurship Evasion Innovation Institutions Regulation Self-employment 

JEL Classifications

L5 M13 O31 P14 



We are grateful for useful comments and suggestions from Niclas Berggren, Wolf von Laer, Tomasz Mickiewicz, Erik Stam, and Karl Wennberg. Financial support from the Jan Wallander and Tom Hedelius Research Foundation is gratefully acknowledged.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)StockholmSweden

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