Josh Lerner is best-known for his pioneering research into venture capital (VC) and VC-backed entrepreneurship. Lerner’s research covers an impressive range of research questions. Among his most important contributions is the synthesis of the fields of finance and entrepreneurship in the form of entrepreneurial finance. He has also made several important contributions in the area of entrepreneurial innovation, spanning issues relating to alliances, patents and open-source project development.
Lerner’s seminal contributions have changed the way scholars, practitioners and policy-makers think about VC financing of new high-value enterprises, innovation and entrepreneurship. Through a series of brilliant publications that have appeared in top-ranked academic journals and books in economics and finance, Lerner has been instrumental in shaping the modern analysis of VC-backed entrepreneurship.
Josh Lerner’s hallmark is bringing analytical rigor to empirical analyses that address questions of first-order importance in entrepreneurial finance. A key ingredient of Lerner's contributions has been his deployment of comprehensive datasets that combine with thorough statistical analyses to overcome potential pitfalls associated with endogeneity and selection biases. Hence, far from being content with merely describing the structure of the VC industry, Lerner has been intent on explaining it, drawing on his wide-ranging knowledge of cutting-edge theory and sophisticated empirical methodology.
Lerner’s work also provides a bridge between the micro- and the macro-levels of the economy, which serves to extend and improve our understanding of one of the engines of modern economic growth. These insights have also had considerable impact on the design of public policies.