Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Political Science


John Mollenkopf

Committee Members

Paul Attewell

Neil Kleiman

Subject Categories

Political Science


Entrepreneurship, business life cycle, failure, Canada, Barcelona, New York City


This study uses a business life cycle perspective to investigate and compare three different approaches to urban economic development policy, each of which focuses on a particular stage of company development. Well-meaning urban policies might be more effective if they were aligned with all the common stages of the business life cycle. This study compares programs that address specific stages of the business cycle to demonstrate that it is possible to address each stage. While it is not possible with a small number of cases and many dimensions of variation to validate a causal model of which packages of policies have what effects, it is possible to measure how well each type of policy is achieving its desired ends.

Combining the individual perspectives into a unified whole will help entrepreneurs on their entire journey and therefore encourage and strengthen regional competitiveness. The cases include major Canadian cities that focus on early-stage capital formation, New York City, which focuses on growing existing firms, and Barcelona, which takes the unusual approach of recycling firm components when companies are on the point of failure or dissolution. The dissertation asks what theory motivates each of these economic programs, what factors these programs address, and which they miss. It concludes by drawing lessons about how these policy perspectives could be combined into a more comprehensive and resilient framework.