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Entrepreneurship and Sustainability

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Richard A Hunt
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Sustainability involves the drive to ensure intergenerational fairness. However, the results of actions taken to achieve sustainability often lie far into the future and efforts to promote the welfare of distant generations may or may not ultimately be successful. While both governmental policies and entrepreneurial innovation have been cited as being indispensable to the achievement of sustainability, the manner in which they co-exist and interact over very long periods of time remains unclear. Using a computational model spanning more than two centuries, this study asks: Do well-intended environmental policies facilitate or inhibit environmental entrepreneurship? By simultaneously considering both the ethical and economic consequences of efforts to arrest environmental degradation, our study answers the call to develop multi-disciplinary perspectives and integrative frameworks when addressing the challenges of sustainable existence. Contrary to widely held perceptions, our findings suggest that policy actions may, in the long run, result in less intergenerational fairness by crowding out environmentally desirable innovations and organizations. Our examination of the long-term interactions between policies and markets offers insights and opportunities for scholars, entrepreneurs, environmentalists, ethicists and policymakers to develop solutions that preserve and extend the essential contributions of both policy actions and entrepreneurial innovations. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd and Society for the Advancement of Management Studies.