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This paper explores the policy and methodological implications of research commissioned by the Enterprise Directorate of BERR, which sought to explain the impact of government regulation on small business performance. The authors suggest that the Directorate's role in "Promoting and developing evidence based policy" had both an enabling and constraining influence on the research process, on what was taken as evidence, and how this evidence might be used to promote regulatory reform. In addition to its focus on regulation and small business performance, the paper draws on three strands of prior research the growing literature on evidence-based policy, paradigm incommensurability in small business and entrepreneurship research, and dissatisfaction with dominant views of causal explanatory method in management and organization research in general.
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