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Public Entrepreneurship and Law Enforcement Activity

Special issue call for papers from Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy

Guest Editor:
Professor Olugbenga Ajilore, University of Toledo

This Special Issue Call for Papers seeks to contribute to the study of public entrepreneurship with a specific focus on entrepreneurship within law enforcement agencies and the institution of policing. We know that markets do not work well when applied to public goods or common resources. However, this does not mean free market concepts cannot be applied to the study of public goods.

For example, the theory of entrepreneurship is primarily discussed in a business environment, but can be applied in the public sphere. Ostrom (2005) finds several examples of innovation occurring in the provision of law enforcement activities that emanate from entrepreneurial activities. She argues the top-down approach is not the only approach to the provision of public goods and that a bottom-up approach can be employed.

Another concept that can be applied to law enforcement is the type of entrepreneurship where individuals find opportunities to change institutions through promoting an alternative ideology. As argued by North (1981), institutional change is only possible when people’s experiences do not line up with their ideology. When this occurs, ideological entrepreneurs can use this disconnect as an opportunity to introduce changes in the institutional structure. These changes need not necessarily be positive social change, but can be negative social change.

There has been a lot of discussion of police behavior and police reform due to the many high profile events of police violence that have spread through social media. Whether or not the police are justified in their actions, these events have caused a breakdown of trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. The various theories on public entrepreneurship can provide a useful framework for understanding why these issues may occur or for developing solutions for the improvement of police-community relations.

The aims of this Special Issue is provide scholarship and analysis of entrepreneurial activities within the institution of policing. A policy focus is invited with respect to improving police-community relations as well as public safety. Interested authors may want to look to Baumol (1990), who outlined a typology of entrepreneurial activities that classified them as productive, unproductive, or destructive. This typology allowed for the analysis of behavior by public officials that promoted the public interest or behavior that led to rent-seeking activity and/or corruption. Klein (2010) provides a framework for the analysis of entrepreneurial activity within the public sphere. The papers are not restricted to the frameworks described above.

Research Questions may include but are not limited to:

•    What constitutes entrepreneurial activities within the context of policing?
•    Adverse police behavior: role for entrepreneurial management?
•    Do police unions help or harm opportunities for entrepreneurship?
•    Are there police tactics (e.g. militarization) that are used as an avenue for a public sector entrepreneur to advance an ideology?
•    What set of activities foster community trust in policing?
•    What is the role of department size on public entrepreneurship?

Submission Guidelines: All submissions are subject to the standard double-blind review process. Manuscripts must be original, unpublished works not concurrently under review for publication at another outlet and are expected to follow the standard formatting guidelines for the journal. Submission must be made online at : Submissions should be prepared according to the Manuscript Guidelines found at

Guest Editorial Team
Professor Olugbenga Ajilore is an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Toledo and a Visiting Fellow at the Urban Institute. He does work on police militarization, peer effects and adolescent behavior, and the implications of racial and ethnic diversity on state and local finance.

Selected References
Baumol, William J. "Entrepreneurship: Productive, Unproductive, and Destructive." Journal of Political Economy98.5, Part 1 (1990): 893-921.

Klein, Peter G., et al. "Toward a theory of public entrepreneurship." European management review 7.1 (2010): 1-15.

North, Douglass Cecil. Structure and change in economic history. Norton, 1981.

Ostrom, Elinor. Unlocking public entrepreneurship and public economies. No. 2005/01. Wider Discussion Papers//World Institute for Development Economics (Unu-Wider), 2005.

Storr, Virgil Henry. "North’s Underdeveloped Ideological Entrepreneur." The Annual Proceedings of the Wealth and Well-Being of Nations, pp.99–115