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Entrepreneurship in the United States

  • Blanchflower, David G.


    (Dartmouth College)

In this paper I examine changes in self-employment that have occurred since the early 1980s in the United States. It is a companion paper to a recent equivalent paper relating to the UK. Data on random samples of twenty million US workers are examined taken from the Basic Monthly files of the CPS (BMCPS), the 2000 Census and the 2005 American Community Survey (ACS). In contrast to the official definition of self-employment which simply counts the numbers of unincorporated self-employed, we also include the incorporated self-employed who are paid wages and salaries. The paper presents evidence on trends in self-employment for the US as a whole as well as in construction. Construction is particularly important given that it accounts for a fifth of all self-employment and self-employment rates are roughly double the national rates. It is also important given the existence of public sector procurement programs that primarily exist in construction that have the intended purpose of assisting firms owned by women and minorities. I document the fact that self-employment rates of white women and minorities in comparison to those of white males have increased in construction and elsewhere as have self-employment earnings. Despite this substantial disparities remain. I also find evidence of discrimination in the small business credit market. Firms owned by minorities in general and blacks in particular are much more likely to have their loans denied and pay higher interest than is the case for white males.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3130.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Annals of Finance, 2009, 5 (3-4), 361-396
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3130
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  1. Douglas Holtz-Eakin & David Joulfaian & Harvey Rosen, 1992. "Entrepreneurial Decisions and Liquidity Constraints," Working Papers 679, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  2. Daniel P. Kessler & Lawrence F. Katz, 2001. "Prevailing Wage Laws and Construction Laborc Markets," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(2), pages 259-274, January.
  3. Porter, Robert H & Zona, J Douglas, 1993. "Detection of Bid Rigging in Procurement Auctions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 518-38, June.
  4. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Joulfaian, David & Rosen, Harvey S, 1994. "Sticking It Out: Entrepreneurial Survival and Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(1), pages 53-75, February.
  5. Evans, David S & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1989. "An Estimated Model of Entrepreneurial Choice under Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 808-27, August.
  6. Robert W. Fairlie & Bruce D. Meyer, 2000. "Trends in Self-Employment among White and Black Men during the Twentieth Century," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(4), pages 643-669.
  7. Srabana Gupta, 2001. "The Effect of Bid Rigging on Prices: A Study of the Highway Construction Industry," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 451-465, December.
  8. Blanchflower, David G. & Shadforth, Chris, 2007. "Entrepreneurship in the UK," Foundations and Trends(R) in Entrepreneurship, now publishers, vol. 3(4), pages 257-364, July.
  9. David G. Blanchflower & Phillip B. Levine & David J. Zimmerman, 2003. "Discrimination in the Small-Business Credit Market," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 930-943, November.
  10. Evans, David S & Leighton, Linda S, 1989. "Some Empirical Aspects of Entrepreneurship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 519-35, June.
  11. Srabana Gupta, 2002. "Competition and collusion in a government procurement auction market," Atlantic Economic Journal, International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 30(1), pages 13-25, March.
  12. Nzinga Broussard & Ralph Chami & Gregory Hess, 2015. "(Why) Do self-employed parents have more children?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 297-321, June.
  13. David G. Blanchflower, 2004. "Self-Employment: More may not be better," NBER Working Papers 10286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Ingraham Allan T, 2005. "A Test for Collusion between a Bidder and an Auctioneer in Sealed-Bid Auctions," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-34, September.
  15. Ken S. Cavalluzzo, 2002. "Competition, Small Business Financing, and Discrimination: Evidence from a New Survey," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75(4), pages 641-680, October.
  16. Blanchflower, D.G. & Oswald, A., 1991. "What Makes an Entrepreneur?," Economics Series Working Papers 99125, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  17. Fairlie, Robert W, 1999. "The Absence of the African-American Owned Business: An Analysis of the Dynamics of Self-Employment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 80-108, January.
  18. Erik Hurst & Annamaria Lusardi, 2004. "Liquidity Constraints, Household Wealth, and Entrepreneurship," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 319-347, April.
  19. Michael Hout & Harvey Rosen, 2000. "Self-Employment, Family Background, and Race," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(4), pages 670-692.
  20. Blanchflower, David G. & Wainwright, Jon, 2005. "An Analysis of the Impact of Affirmative Action Programs on Self-Employment in the Construction Industry," IZA Discussion Papers 1856, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  21. Feinstein, Jonathan S & Block, Michael K & Nold, Frederick C, 1985. "Asymmetric Information and Collusive Behavior in Auction Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 441-60, June.
  22. Cowling, Marc & Mitchell, Peter, 1997. "The Evolution of U.K. Self-Employment: A Study of Government Policy and the Role of the Macroeconomy," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 65(4), pages 427-42, September.
  23. Dunn, Thomas & Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, 2000. "Financial Capital, Human Capital, and the Transition to Self-Employment: Evidence from Intergenerational Links," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(2), pages 282-305, April.
  24. David G. Blanchflower, 2000. "Self-Employment in OECD Countries," NBER Working Papers 7486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew & Stutzer, Alois, 2001. "Latent entrepreneurship across nations," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 680-691, May.
  26. Thomas Dunn & Douglas Holtz-Eakin, 1996. "Financial Capital, Human Capital, and the Transition to Self-Employment:Evidence from Intergenerational Links," NBER Working Papers 5622, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Kenneth J. Arrow, 1998. "What Has Economics to Say about Racial Discrimination?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 91-100, Spring.
  28. Black, Jane & de Meza, David & Jeffreys, David, 1996. "House Price, the Supply of Collateral and the Enterprise Economy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(434), pages 60-75, January.
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