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A cautionary note on using the Eurostat-OECD definition of high-growth firms

  • Daunfeldt, Sven-Olov

    (HUI Research)

  • Halvarsson, Daniel

    (The Ratio Institute)

  • Johansson, Dan

    (HUI Research)

Recent studies have suggested that most firms do not grow, and that a small number of high-growth firms create most new jobs. High-growth firms have therefore attracted an increasing amount of attention from researchers and policymakers. However, there is no uniform definition of what constitutes a high-growth firm in the literature. Eurostat and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) recently recommended that high-growth firms should be defined as firms with at least ten employees in the start-year and annualized employment (or sales) growth exceeding 20% during a 3-year period. This definition would exclude almost 95% of surviving firms in Sweden and about 40% of new private jobs during 2005-2008. We therefore advise caution in using this definition.

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Paper provided by HUI Research in its series HUI Working Papers with number 65.

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Length: 10 pages
Date of creation: 19 Apr 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:huiwps:0065
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  1. Henrekson, Magnus & Johansson, Dan, 2008. "Gazelles as Job Creators – A Survey and Interpretation of the Evidence," Ratio Working Papers 117, The Ratio Institute.
  2. Hart Hodges & Stein �stbye, 2010. "Is small firm gardening good for local economic growth?," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(8), pages 809-813.
  3. Simon C. Parker & Emilio Congregado & Antonio A. Golpe, 2012. "Testing for hysteresis in entrepreneurship in 23 OECD countries," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(1), pages 61-66, January.
  4. Mark Rogers & Christian Helmers & Christoffer Koch, 2010. "Firm growth and firm size," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(16), pages 1547-1550.
  5. Eric Bartelsman & Stefano Scarpetta & Fabiano Schivardi, 2005. "Comparative analysis of firm demographics and survival: evidence from micro-level sources in OECD countries," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(3), pages 365-391, June.
  6. Delmar, Frederic & Davidsson, Per & Gartner, William B., 2003. "Arriving at the high-growth firm," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 189-216, March.
  7. Paul Schreyer, 2000. "High-Growth Firms and Employment," OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers 2000/3, OECD Publishing.
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