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Surviving the years of infancy: longevity among small firms in Nigeria, 1971-1997


  • Monibo A. Sam

    (Albright College, Reading, Pennsylvania, USA)


It is widely believed that a common pattern exists in the closure of small firms in Africa. Typically, these firms are reported to die in their first three years of life. Like any generalisation, this view fails to take into account probable variations across segments of the small business sector. A few recent reports on small firms in Nigeria and in southern Africa draw attention to this limitation. In this paper, we draw on the experience of privately incorporated firms in Nigeria to report a closure pattern that diverges significantly from that of the sector generally. Our finding that only a small fraction of the closures occurred in the infancy of the firms has implication for research and policy on small businesses. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Monibo A. Sam, 2007. "Surviving the years of infancy: longevity among small firms in Nigeria, 1971-1997," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(8), pages 1023-1042.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:19:y:2007:i:8:p:1023-1042
    DOI: 10.1002/jid.1359

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Timothy Bates, 1985. "Entrepreneur Human Capital Endowments and Minority Business Viability," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 20(4), pages 540-554.
    2. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-670, May.
    3. Mead, Donald C. & Liedholm, Carl, 1998. "The dynamics of micro and small enterprises in developing countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 61-74, January.
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