Richard Cantillon (1755) is credited with the discovery of economic theory and was the first to fully consider the critical role of entrepreneurship in the economy. Cantillon described entrepreneurship as pervasive and endowed the entrepreneur with the most pivotal role. Using a sample of models from Cantillon’s Essai, we provide evidence that his theory of the entrepreneur is the tool by which he constructed economic theory and that absent the entrepreneur his constructions fail. We believe that Cantillon offers a 'new' theory of the entrepreneur that can strengthen entrepreneurship and economic theory by understanding the economic role of the entrepreneur.
Proceedings of Regional Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research: 8th International Australian Graduate School of Entrepreneurship (AGSE) Research Exchange, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia, 01-04 February 2011,