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New Business Formation: An Important Element of Ireland's Rapid Growth Experience?

  • Michael Anyadike-Danes
  • Helena Lenihan
  • Mike Hart

The extraordinary growth of the Irish economy - the 'Celtic Tiger' - since the mid-1990s has attracted a great deal of interest, commentary and research. Indeed, many countries are now looking to Ireland as an economic development role model, and The Sapir Report (2003) has suggested that Ireland should be seen as providing key lessons for other EU countries with regards to realising the objectives set out in the Lisbon Agenda.Much of the discussion of Ireland's growth has focussed around growth triggers such as: the long term consequences of fiscal stabilisation of the late 1980s; EU structural funds; education; wage moderation; devaluations of the Irish punt. From an industrial policy perspective, the focus has been on the importance of FDI inflows and to a lesser extent on the performance of an indigenous stock of firms to Ireland's growth record. A notable absence from the industrial policy discourse on the 'Celtic Tiger' has been any consideration of the role of new business venture creation and entrepreneurship. In this paper we use unpublished annual Irish VAT data for the period 1988-2004 to provide the first detailed look at national and regional trends in business birth and death rates in Ireland. We also undertake a sub-national analysis of the Irish VAT data to understand more clearly the importance of new venture creation to past and emerging spatial trends in Ireland. Our conclusion is that new business formation made no detectable contribution to the acceleration of Ireland's growth in the late 1990s.

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Paper provided by ESRC Centre for Business Research in its series ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers with number wp380.

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Date of creation: Mar 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cbr:cbrwps:wp380
Note: PRO-2
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  1. Callan, Tim & van Soest, Arthur & Walsh, John R., 2007. "Tax Structure and Female Labour Market Participation: Evidence from Ireland," IZA Discussion Papers 3090, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Dascher, K., 2000. "Trade, FDI and Congestion: the Small and Very Open Economy," Papers 00/09, College Dublin, Department of Political Economy-.
  3. Kenneth J. Arrow, 1997. "Invaluable Goods," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 757-765, June.
  4. Patrick Gunnigle & David McGuire, 2001. "Why Ireland? A Qualitative Review of the Factors Influencing the Location of US Multinationals in Ireland with Particular Reference to the Impact of Labour Issues," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 32(1), pages 43-67.
  5. Patrick Honohan & Brendan Walsh, 2002. "Catching Up with the Leaders: The Irish Hare," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 33(1), pages 1-78.
  6. Zoltan Acs & David Storey, 2004. "Introduction: Entrepreneurship and Economic Development," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(8), pages 871-877.
  7. Benjamin Powell, 2003. "Economic Freedom and Growth: The Case of the Celtic Tiger," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 22(3), pages 431-448, Winter.
  8. Wennekers, Sander & Thurik, Roy, 1999. " Linking Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 27-55, August.
  9. Zoltan Acs & Colm O'Gorman & Laszlo Szerb & Siri Terjesen, 2006. "Could The Irish Miracle Be Repeated in Hungary?," Papers on Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy 2005-33, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy Group.
  10. Ferreira, Luisa & Vanhoudt, Patrick, 2002. "Catching The Celtic Tiger By Its Tail," Economic and Financial Reports 2002/1, European Investment Bank, Economics Department.
  11. Johnson, Peter & Conway, Cheryl, 1997. " How Good Are the U.K. VAT Registration Data at Measuring Firm Births?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 9(5), pages 403-09, October.
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