Conceptualizing Nonmarket Municipal Entrepreneurship: Everyday Municipal Innovation and the Roles of Metropolitan Context, Internal Resources, and Learning

Public-sector innovation and entrepreneurship usually refer to policies undertaken by public administrations or driven by urban regimes in view of furthering economic development. Some researchers study these processes from a management perspective; others critique them as vehicles of neoliberalization. However, scant attention has been paid to everyday technical and service innovation undertaken by municipal departments and employees. Although this innovation is usually not driven by markets, municipalities’ small size and geographic rootedness suggest it can be apprehended using concepts from firm-level studies. Our study of a municipal innovation competition in Quebec provides examples of everyday municipal innovation. We find that municipalities’ internal capacity determines their innovativeness, that learning occurs, and that the motivation and evaluation of everyday municipal innovation are not market-based. This calls into question the appropriation of the term urban entrepreneurship by urban political economists and invites students of cities to examine municipal entrepreneurial processes more closely.

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