Swedish Schumpeter Lecture 2019: John Haltiwanger

On Friday 4 October Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum hosted the 8th edition of Swedish Schumpeter Lecture. This time with the reputed researcher John Haltiwanger, Professor at University of Maryland-College Park, renowned for his influential work that explore the dynamics behind job creation and job destruction as well as its impact on economic growth.

John Haltiwanger introduced his talk by presenting several detailed graphs with an intention to provide a thorough account of the underlying factors behind job destruction and job creation. However, Haltiwanger emphasized that researchers are not yet fully aware of the factors which determine successful entrepreneurship, but highlighted a few theories nonetheless. For example Haltiwanger claimed through his ongoing research that the founders and the founding team play a significant role for the company’s success in their first formative years. Furthermore, he raised his concern about the development of entrepreneurship during the past years, not least in the US and Sweden.

We are witnessing a development within the Western world toward declining dynamism and entrepreneurship as well as less economic growth and productivity which is worrying since young companies tend to introduce groundbreaking innovations on the market.

John Haltiwanger


He also highlighted how the perception of entrepreneurship as well as its motivations have changed over time.

In the 1990’s you wanted to be the next Google. Today you want to be bought by Google and if you enjoy a high human capital you want to be employed by Google.

Katarina Lundahl, chief economist at Unionen, agreed about the problem regarding less productivity growth, albeit specifically in Sweden.

Sweden has undergone substantial reforms in the labor market during the past years whereby an increasing amount of jobs now require higher skills.

Cecilia Hermansson, professor at KTH Royal Institute of Technology , concured with Haltiwanger concerning the founders’ importance for successful entrepreneurship, especially when entrepreneurs decide to seek venture capital.

It is essential for Swedish entrepreneurs to obtain venture capital already from the get-go. Venture capitalists and business angels oftentimes evaluate the entrepreneurial team a great deal when they assess a potential investment opportunity, thereby the founders are vital for successful entrepreneurship!

John Haltiwanger, Johan Eklund (moderator), Katarina Lundahl, Cecilia Hermansson