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Job Creation and Firm Dynamics in the United States

In: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 12

  • John Haltiwanger

Executive SummaryBusiness dynamism plays an important role in job creation and productivity growth in the United States. Business start-ups are an important contributor to that dynamism. Start-ups contribute disproportionately to job creation but are very heterogeneous in terms of productivity. The subsequent “up-or-out” dynamic of young businesses is an important source of job and productivity growth: exiting young businesses are of very low productivity, and the surviving young businesses exhibit rapid growth with above average productivity. The United States shows signs of becoming less dynamic over time—exhibiting a slower pace of reallocation with an accompanying slower pace of job creation from business start-ups. The recent recession saw the lowest overall rate of gross job creation and job creation from start-ups since at least 1980. Job creation for small (young) businesses took an especially large hit in the recession and has been very slow to recover. An open question is whether the observed decline in dynamism exhibited by U.S. businesses will have adverse consequences for U.S. innovation, job, and productivity growth in the future.The fundamental impulse that keeps the capital engine in motion comes from the new consumers’ goods, the new methods of production and transportation, the new markets…. [The process] incessantly revolutionizes from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one. This process of Creative Destruction is the essential fact of capitalism.Joseph Schumpeter

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This chapter was published in:
  • Josh Lerner & Scott Stern, 2012. "Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 12," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number lern11-2, October.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 12451.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:12451
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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    1. Davis, Steven J. & Faberman, R. Jason & Haltiwanger, John, 2012. "Labor market flows in the cross section and over time," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 1-18.
    2. John Haltiwanger & C J Krizan & Lucia Foster, 1998. "Aggregate Productivity Growth: Lessons From Microeconomic Evidence," Working Papers 98-12, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    3. Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & C. J. Krizan, 2006. "Market Selection, Reallocation, and Restructuring in the U.S. Retail Trade Sector in the 1990s," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 748-758, November.
    4. Eric J. Bartelsman & John C. Haltiwanger & Stefano Scarpetta, 2009. "Cross-Country Differences in Productivity: The Role of Allocation and Selection," NBER Working Papers 15490, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. 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.
    6. Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger & Ron Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2007. "Volatility and Dispersion in Business Growth Rates: Publicly Traded versus Privately Held Firms," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2006, Volume 21, pages 107-180 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Chad Syverson, 2004. "Product Substitutability and Productivity Dispersion," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 534-550, May.
    8. Steven Davis & R Jason Faberman & John Haltiwanger & Ron Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2008. "Business Volatility, Job Destruction, and Unemployment," Working Papers 08-26, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    9. Diego Restuccia & Richard Rogerson, 2007. "Policy Distortions and Aggregate Productivity with Heterogeneous Plants," NBER Working Papers 13018, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & Chad Syverson, 2005. "Reallocation, Firm Turnover, and Efficiency: Selection on Productivity or Profitability?," Working Papers 05-11, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    11. Steven J. Davis & R. Jason Faberman & John C. Haltiwanger, 2009. "The establishment-level behavior of vacancies and hiring," Working Papers 09-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    12. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2007. "Misallocation and Manufacturing TFP in China and India," NBER Working Papers 13290, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Hulten, Charles R. & Dean, Edwin R. & Harper, Michael (ed.), 2001. "New Developments in Productivity Analysis," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226360621.
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