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Boulevard of Broken Dreams

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This important, well-reasoned book reminds us in times of financial crisis that it is innovation and technical change in the real economy that is ultimately responsible for our prosperity--and that, alas, there are no silver bullets or simple policies to advance the process. Provocative, interesting, and useful. -- Amar Bhide, author of "The Venturesome Economy" Boulevard of Broken Dreams shows a deep understanding of the role of government in boosting entrepreneurship. -- Sir Ronald Cohen, chairman of The Portland Trust and Bridges Ventures, and cofounder and former chairman of Apax Partners Boulevard of Broken Dreams is destined to be regarded as the classic study about how governments can succeed or fail in attempting to produce successful entrepreneurial environments and programs. All policymakers interested in achieving success--and avoiding failure--in encouraging entrepreneurial activity need to study and master the lessons described so eloquently by Josh Lerner. -- David M. Rubenstein, cofounder and managing director of The Carlyle Group Innovation and entrepreneurship are incredibly important engines for economic growth. As governments around the world try to restart this engine in the wake of the global crisis, they will find this book to be an ideal guide. -- Ken Wilcox, CEO of Silicon Valley Bank Such a cogent, well-reasoned explanation of the role of government policy--for good and ill--is long overdue. I hope that all audiences, whether policymakers, entrepreneurs, educators, or voters, will read and heed its advice. -- Richard Kramlich, cofounder and general partner of New Enterprise Associates In this valuable and well-thought-out book, Lerner supports his astute observations with a wealth of clear models drawn from throughout the world. He provides striking examples in which governmental efforts to encourage entrepreneurial activity have been effective, along with other instances in which such efforts have fallen on their face and incurred high costs to society. -- William J. Baumol, author of "The Free-Market Innovation Machine" This important and timely book will impact the ways policymakers think about venture capital and how to support it more effectively. The book is deeply rooted in economic research, leaves ideology behind, and focuses on facts. It explains complex economic analysis in simple terms and provides many useful examples to illustrate fundamental issues. -- Thomas F. Hellmann, University of British Columbia

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments vii CHAPTER ONE: Introduction 1 PART ONE: CAN BUREAUCRATS HELP ENTREPRENEURS? 23 CHAPTER TWO: A Look Backwards 25 CHAPTER THREE: Why Should Policymakers Care? 43 CHAPTER FOUR: Things Get More Complicated 65 PART TWO: THREADING THE NEEDLE 87 CHAPTER FIVE: The Neglected Art of Setting the Table 89 CHAPTER SIX: How Governments Go Wrong: Bad Designs 111 CHAPTER SEVEN: How Governments Go Wrong: Bad Implementation 137 CHAPTER EIGHT: The Special Challenges of Sovereign Funds 162 CHAPTER NINE: Lessons and Pitfalls 181 Notes 193 Index 219

About the Author

Josh Lerner is the Jacob H. Schiff Professor of Investment Banking at Harvard Business School, with a joint appointment in finance and entrepreneurial management. He is the coauthor of "Innovation and Its Discontents" (Princeton), "The Venture Capital Cycle," and other books.


Winner of the 2009 PROSE Award in Business, Finance & Management, Association of American Publishers Co-Winner of the 2010 Gold Medal Book Award in Entrepreneurship, Axiom Business "[S]uperb."--Edward L. Glaeser, New York Times' Economix blog "Lots of governments would like to promote high-tech entrepreneurship and venture capital in their regions--but many don't know how to do it effectively. In his new book Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Josh Lerner ... examines which types of policies to promote entrepreneurship and venture capital tend to work--and which don't. Lerner supports his carefully researched analysis with numerous examples chosen from around the globe."--MIT Sloan Management Review "Can governments spark start-up activity and job creation by getting into the venture capital business? Or do they just waste taxpayer money whenever they try? Those are the two questions that animate the new book from Harvard Business prof Josh Lerner, Boulevard of Broken Dreams... [W]hile the stories of failures are entertaining, what's most useful about Boulevard are the examples of governments that have gotten it right... [A] really readable collection of data, anecdotes, and thoughtful arguments."--Scott Kirsner, Boston Globe blog "Innovation Economy" "Today, calls for more innovation and entrepreneurship are more fashionable than ever, especially within government, where politicians and bureaucrats wastefully attempt to manufacture, via policy and subsidies, fresh batches of master agents and adventurers. But can government policy trigger entrepreneurship and subsequent growth? The title of a new book suggests not, Boulevard of Broken Dreams, by Harvard professor Josh Lerner. Much of Broken Dreams is a first-rate handbook for policy makers keen to avoid interventions that have proven track records as disasters. Lerner produces example after example of bad program design, bad implementation and plain dumb, even corrupt, policy making."--Terence Corcoran, National Post "Mr. Lerner provides more than a dozen rules of thumb for effective government intervention in the private sector."--Harry Hurt III, New York Times "[A] useful book ..."--David Brooks, New York Times "During economic turmoil, many look to the government to boost the economy by investing in entrepreneurship. But is that a good idea? Josh Lerner wrestles with that question in Boulevard of Broken Dreams, which considers the history of the public sector's involvement in entrepreneurship and venture capitalism--what's worked, from Silicon Valley to Singapore, and what's gone horribly awry... This book aims to steer policymakers in the right direction."--BizEd Magazine "The book is instructive, well researched and contains some wise lessons from the past in terms of the government's role in promoting entrepreneurship and growth businesses... [T]ake note, politicians and mandarins: this book can provide much-needed advice and perhaps a shortcut to developing more effective policies... [R]ecommended reading to any local economic development practitioner who takes an interest in the big policy questions of today, and [it has] direct relevance to local economic development."--Glenn Athey, Local Economy

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