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Finance and Growth at the Firm Level: Evidence from SBA Loans


  • Brown, J. David

    () (U.S. Census Bureau)

  • Earle, John S.

    () (George Mason University)


We analyze linked databases on all Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, on all SBA lenders, and on all U.S. employers to estimate the effects of financial access on employment growth. Our methods combine regressions with matching on firm age, size, industry, year, and employment history, and with instrumental variables capturing ease of access to SBA lenders. The estimation results imply an increase of 3-4 jobs for each million dollars of loans, suggesting that credit constraints impede small business growth prior to loan receipt. We also investigate the variation in estimated employment effects for the SBA 504 versus 7(a) programs, and with respect to the business cycle, local credit conditions, and within-county versus non-SBA county-industry control firms. Finally, for loans issued over the 1992-2007 period, we estimate total job creation of 1.0-2.1 million and the government's cost per job of $8,200-$18,000 measured five years after the loan year.

Suggested Citation

  • Brown, J. David & Earle, John S., 2015. "Finance and Growth at the Firm Level: Evidence from SBA Loans," IZA Discussion Papers 9267, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9267

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    3. Giovanni Dell'Ariccia & Dalida Kadyrzhanova & Camelia Minoiu & Lev Ratnovski, 2017. "Bank Lending in the Knowledge Economy," IMF Working Papers 2017/234, International Monetary Fund.
    4. João Granja & Christian Leuz & Raghuram Rajan, 2018. "Going the Extra Mile: Distant Lending and Credit Cycles," NBER Working Papers 25196, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Rupasingha, Anil & Pender, John & Wiggins, Seth, 2018. "USDA’s Value-Added Producer Grant Program and Its Effect on Business Survival and Growth," Economic Research Report 276236, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    6. Brown, J. David & Earle, John S. & Morgulis, Yana, 2015. "Job Creation, Small vs. Large vs. Young, and the SBA," IZA Discussion Papers 9489, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Xiuwei TANG & UCHIDA Hirofumi, 2020. "Differences in the Usage of Credit Guarantees Across Banks," Discussion papers 20029, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    8. Bertay,Ata Can & Calice,Pietro & Diaz Kalan,Federico Alfonso & Masetti,Oliver, 2020. "Recent Trends in Bank Privatization," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9318, The World Bank.
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    10. World Bank Group, 2018. "Toolkit for Impact Evaluation of Public Credit Guarantee Schemes for SMEs," World Bank Other Operational Studies 30514, The World Bank.
    11. Joern H. Block & Massimo G. Colombo & Douglas J. Cumming & Silvio Vismara, 2018. "New players in entrepreneurial finance and why they are there," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 50(2), pages 239-250, February.
    12. Paul E. Orzechowski, 2020. "U.S. Small Business Administration loans and U.S. state-level employment," Journal of Economics and Finance, Springer;Academy of Economics and Finance, vol. 44(3), pages 486-505, July.
    13. Francesco Manaresi & Carlo Menon & Pietro Santoleri, 2020. "Supporting innovative entrepreneurship: an evaluation of the Italian "Start-up Act"," Mo.Fi.R. Working Papers 163, Money and Finance Research group (Mo.Fi.R.) - Univ. Politecnica Marche - Dept. Economic and Social Sciences.
    14. Brault, Julien & Signore, Simone, 2019. "The real effects of EU loan guarantee schemes for SMEs: A pan-European assessment," EIF Working Paper Series 2019/56, European Investment Fund (EIF).
    15. Amamou, Raschid & Gereben, Áron & Wolski, Marcin, 2020. "Making a difference: Assessing the impact of the EIB's funding to SMEs," EIB Working Papers 2020/04, European Investment Bank (EIB).
    16. Soonae Park & In Hyeock Lee & Jung Eun Kim, 2020. "Government support and small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) performance: the moderating effects of diagnostic and support services," Asian Business & Management, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 19(2), pages 213-238, April.
    17. Schwab, Leila & Gold, Stefan & Reiner, Gerald, 2019. "Exploring financial sustainability of SMEs during periods of production growth: A simulation study," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 212(C), pages 8-18.
    18. Annalisa Croce & Jose Martí & Carmelo Reverte, 2019. "The role of private versus governmental venture capital in fostering job creation during the crisis," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 53(4), pages 879-900, December.
    19. Bertoni, Fabio & Martí, Jose & Reverte, Carmelo, 2019. "The impact of government-supported participative loans on the growth of entrepreneurial ventures," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 371-384.
    20. David Sraer & David Thesmar, 2018. "A Sufficient Statistics Approach for Aggregating Firm-Level Experiments," NBER Working Papers 24208, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Muraközy, Balázs & Telegdy, Álmos, 2020. "The Effects of EU-Funded Enterprise Grants on Firms and Workers," IZA Discussion Papers 13410, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    22. Nils Karlson & Christian Sandström & Karl Wennberg, 2021. "Bureaucrats or Markets in Innovation Policy? – a critique of the entrepreneurial state," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 34(1), pages 81-95, March.
    23. Justin Gallagher & Daniel Hartley & Shawn M. Rohlin, 2019. "Weathering an Unexpected Financial Shock: The Role of Cash Grants on Household Finance and Business Survival," Working Paper Series WP-2019-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

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    More about this item


    financial access; loans; employment; growth; small business administration; finance; small business finance;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D04 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Policy: Formulation; Implementation; Evaluation
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • H32 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Firm
    • H81 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - Governmental Loans; Loan Guarantees; Credits; Grants; Bailouts
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • L53 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Enterprise Policy

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