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Evaluating the effect of soft business support upon small firm performance

  • Colin Wren
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    The paper applies robust econometric techniques to assess the impact of publicly-provided subsidised 'soft' business support on the performance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It considers the assistance for consultancy advice provided towards marketing under the UK Enterprise Initiative, looking at its effect on sales turnover, employment and survival, and making explicit allowance for selection effects. It is found that the policy has no impact on the survival of smaller SMEs, and that it is most effective in the mid-range SMEs, where it raises survival rates by about 4% over the longer run and growth rates in surviving firms by up to 10% per annum. Overall, the scheme has a substantial impact, but the paper draws attention to the possible displacement effects. Copyright 2002, Oxford University Press.

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    Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Oxford Economic Papers.

    Volume (Year): 54 (2002)
    Issue (Month): 2 (April)
    Pages: 334-365

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    Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:54:y:2002:i:2:p:334-365
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    1. Dunne, Timothy & Roberts, Mark J & Samuelson, Larry, 1989. "The Growth and Failure of U.S. Manufacturing Plants," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(4), pages 671-98, November.
    2. James J. Heckman, 1989. "Choosing Among Alternative Nonexperimental Methods for Estimating the Impact of Social Programs: The Case of Manpower Training," NBER Working Papers 2861, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Dolton, Peter J & Makepeace, Gerald H & Treble, John G, 1994. "The Youth Training Scheme and the School-to-Work Transition," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(4), pages 629-57, October.
    4. Mata, Jose & Portugal, Pedro, 1994. "Life Duration of New Firms," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(3), pages 227-45, September.
    5. McCloughan, Patrick, 1995. "Simulation of Concentration Development from Modified Gibrat Growth-Entry-Exit Processes," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(4), pages 405-33, December.
    6. O'Higgins, Niall, 1994. "YTS, Employment, and Sample Selection Bias," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(4), pages 605-28, October.
    7. Cressy, Robert, 1996. "Are Business Startups Debt-Rationed?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(438), pages 1253-70, September.
    8. Goldberger, Arthur S, 1972. "Structural Equation Methods in the Social Sciences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 40(6), pages 979-1001, November.
    9. McCloughan, Patrick & Stone, Ian, 1998. "Life duration of foreign multinational subsidiaries: Evidence from UK northern manufacturing industry 1970-93," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 719-747, November.
    10. Takis Venetoklis, 1999. "Process Evaluation of Business Subsidies in Finland. A Quantitative Approach," Research Reports 58, Government Institute for Economic Research Finland (VATT).
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