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The European Size Distribution of Firms and Employment

  • Stenkula, Mikael


    (Research Institute of Industrial Economics)

The policy debate in recent years has increasingly focused on issues concerning size distribution of firms and employment. It is often claimed that we are approaching a new economic era where large enterprises have lost their importance in developed economies. This raises the question of what we can say about the size distributions on the basis of currently available European data. How important are large enterprises and can we detect any changes with regard to their importance? How do countries of the European Union differ in this regard? How reliable is available data ? does it permit us to draw any conclusions? Examining the availability and quality of data on European firm size and employment, we find that the existing data is severely limited in a number of respects. Conclusions based on the currently available data must hence be interpreted with considerable caution. However, recent measures by for instance the European Union will greatly improve the availability and quality of firm size data in the future.

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Paper provided by Research Institute of Industrial Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 683.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: 04 Dec 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published as Stenkula, Mikael, 'The European Size Distribution of Firms and Employment' in The ICFAI Journal of Industrial Economics, 2007, pages 46-63.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0683
Contact details of provider: Postal: Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46 8 665 4500
Fax: +46 8 665 4599
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  1. Davis, Steven J & Haltiwanger, John & Schuh, Scott, 1996. " Small Business and Job Creation: Dissecting the Myth and Reassessing the Facts," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 297-315, August.
  2. Davis, Steven J & Henrekson, Magnus, 1999. " Explaining National Differences in the Size and Industry Distribution of Employment," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 59-83, February.
  3. Zoltan Acs & David Audretsch, 1990. "Innovation and Small Firms," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262011131, June.
  4. Henrekson, Magnus & Johansson, Dan, 1998. "Institutional Effects on the Evolution of the Size Distribution of Firms," Working Paper Series 497, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  5. Acs, Zoltan J & Audretsch, David B, 1988. "Innovation in Large and Small Firms: An Empirical Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 678-90, September.
  6. William J. Baumol, 2004. "Entrepreneurial Enterprises, Large Established Firms and Other Components of the Free-Market Growth Machine," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 9-21, 08.
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