In this article, David Audretsch tells about ‘’The Seven Secrets of Germany’’, a book which he co-authored with Erik E. Lehmann, Professor of Management and Director of the Global Business Management Program and Dean of Student Affairs at Augsburg University. The book, published by Oxford University Press in 2016, examines Germany’s economic success with a wide lens.
The idea for the book hit us driving from Mannheim, to Bergamo, while we were driving through Baden Württemberg and Bavaria en route to Italy. The prosperity and success of Germany was not just visible outside our windows but also apparent in the statistics and data. While most of the EU was struggling, Germany was thriving. Contemporary German success is even more striking when contrasted to a country suffering economic stagnation despair just over a decade ago. We conceptualized and outlined the contents of the book during our seven-hour drive.
The main message of our book is that the supply side matters and it matters at the local, decentralized level. While the demand side is global, key components of the supply side driving competitiveness have local roots. Therefore, local policies and institutions make all the differences in the ability to harness the opportunities afforded from globalization rather than succumbing as a victim. Given the dismal economic situation in Germany a decade ago, there is no reason that other countries cannot discover their own secrets or sources of competitive advantage as well.
The biggest trends in this area are that entrepreneurship and innovation are key drivers of economic prosperity. Thus, there is considerable policy interest in which approaches and instruments are best suited to ignite entrepreneurship and innovation. The challenge that we experienced in writing our book was to try to make it interesting for and compelling to a broad non-specialist audience of non-economists and readers not familiar with Germany.
One of our greatest surprises subsequent to publication is the enormous interest in what policy approaches can be pursued to improve the economic performance of regions and countries and what can be learned from other contexts. It has been challenging to keep up with the interest and requests for commenting on and speaking about our book and findings. We are currently working upon a follow-up book about how the German view of entrepreneurship may help address some of the most compelling problems and challenges in the United States.
About the Author
David B. Audretsch is a Distinguished Professor and the Ameritech Chair of Economic Development at Indiana University, where he is also serves as Director of the Institute for Development Strategies. He is an Honorary Professor of Industrial Economics and Entrepreneurship at the WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management in Germany and a Research Fellow of the Centre for Economic Policy Research in London. Audretsch’s research has focused on the links between entrepreneurship, government policy, innovation, economic development, and global competitiveness. He is co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Small Business Economics: An Entrepreneurship Journal. He was awarded the Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research by the Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum (Entreprenörskapsforum). He has received honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Augsburg in Germany and Jonköping University in Sweden. Audretsch was also awarded the Schumpeter Prize from the University of Wuppertal in Germany.
David is a member of the UIIN Scientific Board. You can purchase his book The Seven Secrets of Germany: Economic Resilience in an Era of Global Turbulence 1st Edition here