Entrepreneurial Evolution and the Magazine Industry

new-magazines-1110330-mHappy 4th of July! To celebrate this relaxing, barbeque and family-fun filled holiday, we’re happy to provide you with a unique look into the history of the American magazine. In their article from Administrative Science Quarterly entitled “How Entrepreneurship Evolves: The Founders of New Magazines in America, 1741-1860,” authors Heather A. Haveman, Jacob Habinek and Leo A. Goodman explore this business to find out if new entrepreneurs find it harder to compete with existing industry insiders or if a well-established market gives new endeavors a leg up.

The abstract:

We craft a historically sensitive model of entrepreneurship linking individual actors to the evolving social structures they must navigate to acquire resources and launch new ventures. Theories of entrepreneurship and industry evolution suggest two opposing hypotheses: as an industry develops, launching a new venture may become more difficult for all but industry insiders and the socially prominent because of competition fromASQ_v59n2_Jun2014_cover.indd large incumbents, or it may become easier for all people because the legitimacy accorded to the industry simplifies the entrepreneurial task. To test these two conflicting claims, we study the American magazine industry from 1741 to 1860. We find that magazine publishing was originally restricted to publishing-industry insiders, professionals, and the highly educated, but most later founders came from outside publishing and more were of middling stature. Gains by entrepreneurs from the social periphery, however, were uneven: most were doctors and clergy without college degrees in small urban areas; magazines founded by industry insiders remained predominant in the industry centers. Our analysis demonstrates the importance of grounding studies of entrepreneurship in historical context. It also shows that entrepreneurship scholars must attend to temporal shifts within the focal industry and in society at large.

Click here to read “How Entrepreneurship Evolves: The Founders of New Magazines in America, 1741-1860” from Administrative Science Quarterly. Make sure to sign up for e-alerts and get notified on research like this from Administrative Science Quarterly!

How Entrepreneurship Evolves

Did you know that the first two American magazines, produced by rival printers Andrew Bradford and Benjamin Franklin in 1741, lasted only three and six months, respectively? But in their wake, an entrepreneurial spirit took hold, according to an article published in Administrative Science Quarterly:

Between the appearance of the first American magazines in 1741 and the outbreak of the Civil War 120 years later, the resources needed to publish magazines became more readily and universally available, the industry became more legitimate, and demand grew, especially for specialist magazines that targeted members of particular religious communities, reform movements, and occupations. But these developments were offset by the increasing cost of content as authorship became a paid occupation and by fierce competition from large publishers. The question remains as to what effect these changes had on the kinds of people who launched magazines.

asqHeather A. Haveman, Jacob Habinek, and Leo A. Goodman, all of the University of California, Berkeley, published “How Entrepreneurship Evolves: The Founders of New Magazines in America, 1741–1860” in the December 2012 issue of ASQ. From the abstract:

We craft a historically sensitive model of entrepreneurship linking individual actors to the evolving social structures they must navigate to acquire resources and launch new ventures. Theories of entrepreneurship and industry evolution suggest two opposing hypotheses: as an industry develops, launching a new venture may become more difficult for all but industry insiders and the socially prominent because of competition from large incumbents, or it may become easier for all people because the legitimacy accorded to the industry simplifies the entrepreneurial task. To test these two conflicting claims, we study the American magazine industry from 1741 to 1860…

To read on, please click here to access the article. Are you looking for more research on entrepreneurship? Follow this link to access Administrative Science Quarterly’s Mobilization and Entrepreneurship Editor’s Choice collection.