What do Small Businesses Do?
In this paper, we show that most small business owners are very different from the entrepreneurs that economic models and policy makers often have in mind. Using new data that samples early stage entrepreneurs just prior to business start up, we show that few small businesses intend to bring a new idea to market. Instead, most intend to provide an existing service to an existing market. Further, we find that most small businesses have little desire to grow big or to innovate in any observable way. We show that such behavior is consistent with the industry characteristics of the majority of small businesses, which are concentrated among skilled craftsmen, lawyers, real estate agents, doctors, small shopkeepers, and restaurateurs. Lastly, we show non pecuniary benefits (being one's own boss, having flexibility of hours, etc.) play a first-order role in the business formation decision. We then discuss how our findings suggest that the importance of entrepreneurial talent, entrepreneurial luck, and financial frictions in explaining the firm size distribution may be overstated. We conclude by discussing the potential policy implications of our findings.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
Volume (Year): 43 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (Fall) ()
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: (202) 797-6000
Fax: (202) 797-6004
Web page: http://www.brookings.edu/economics.aspx
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger & Ronald S. Jarmin & C.J. Krizan & Javier Miranda & Alfred Nucci & Kristin Sandusky, 2009.
"Measuring the Dynamics of Young and Small Businesses: Integrating the Employer and Nonemployer Universes,"
in: Producer Dynamics: New Evidence from Micro Data, pages 329-366
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Javier Miranda & Alfred Nucci & Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger & Ron S. Jarmin & C.J. Krizan & Kristin Sandusky, 2006. "Measuring the Dynamics of Young and Small Businesses: Integrating the Employer and Nonemployer Universes," Working Papers 06-04, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
- Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger & Ron S. Jarmin & C. J. Krizan & Javier Miranda & Alfred Nucci & Kristin Sandusky, 2007. "Measuring the Dynamics of Young and Small Businesses: Integrating the Employer and Nonemployer Universes," NBER Working Papers 13226, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Silvia Ardagna & Annamaria Lusardi, 2010.
"Explaining International Differences in Entrepreneurship: The Role of Individual Characteristics and Regulatory Constraints,"
in: International Differences in Entrepreneurship, pages 17-62
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Silvia Ardagna & Annamaria Lusardi, 2008. "Explaining International Differences in Entrepreneurship: The Role of Individual Characteristics and Regulatory Constraints," NBER Working Papers 14012, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Galina Vereshchagina & Hugo A. Hopenhayn, 2009.
"Risk Taking by Entrepreneurs,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 1808-30, December.
- Erik Hurst & Geng Li & Benjamin Pugsley, 2014.
"Are Household Surveys Like Tax Forms? Evidence from Income Underreporting of the Self-Employed,"
The Review of Economics and Statistics,
MIT Press, vol. 96(1), pages 19-33, March.
- Erik Hurst & Geng Li & Benjamin Pugsley, 2011. "Are household surveys like tax forms: evidence from income underreporting of the self-employed," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2011-06, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Erik Hurst & Geng Li & Benjamin Pugsley, 2010. "Are Household Surveys Like Tax Forms: Evidence from Income Underreporting of the Self Employed," NBER Working Papers 16527, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- John C. Haltiwanger & Ron S. Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2010.
"Who Creates Jobs? Small vs. Large vs. Young,"
NBER Working Papers
16300, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Veronique de Rugy, 2005. "Are Small Businesses the Engine of Growth?," Working Papers 49882, American Enterprise Institute.
- Audretsch, David B. & Keilbach, Max C. & Lehmann, Erik E., 2006. "Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195183511, March.
- Zoltan Acs & David Audretsch, 1990. "Innovation and Small Firms," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262011131, June.
- Evans, David S & Leighton, Linda S, 1989. "Some Empirical Aspects of Entrepreneurship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 519-35, June.
- Xavier Gabaix, 2008.
"Power Laws in Economics and Finance,"
NBER Working Papers
14299, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bin:bpeajo:v:43:y:2011:i:2011-02:p:73-142. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Eric Encarnacion)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.