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Entrepreneurship and the City

  • Edward L. Glaeser

Why do levels of entrepreneurship differ across America's cities? This paper presents basic facts on two measures of entrepreneurship: the self-employment rate and the number of small firms. Both of these measures are correlated with urban success, suggesting that more entrepreneurial cities are more successful. There is considerable variation in the self-employment rate across metropolitan areas, but about one-half of this heterogeneity can be explained by demographic and industrial variation. Self-employment is particularly associated with abundant, older citizens and with the presence of input suppliers. Conversely, small firm size and employment growth due to unaffiliated new establishments is associated most strongly with the presence of input suppliers and an appropriate labor force. I also find support for the Chinitz (1961) hypothesis that entrepreneurship is linked to a large number of small firms in supplying industries. Finally, there is a strong connection between area-level education and entrepreneurship.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13551.

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Date of creation: Oct 2007
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13551
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  1. Blanchflower, David G & Oswald, Andrew J, 1998. "What Makes an Entrepreneur?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 26-60, January.
  2. Guy Dumais & Glenn Ellison & Edward L. Glaeser, 2002. "Geographic Concentration As A Dynamic Process," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 193-204, May.
  3. Edward L. Glaeser & Hedi D. Kallal & Jose A. Scheinkman & Andrei Shleifer, 1991. "Growth in Cities," NBER Working Papers 3787, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Kallal, Hedi D. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Shleifer, Andrei, 1992. "Growth in Cities," Scholarly Articles 3451309, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Glenn Ellison & Edward L. Glaeser & William R. Kerr, 2010. "What Causes Industry Agglomeration? Evidence from Coagglomeration Patterns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 1195-1213, June.
  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. Enrico Moretti, 2002. "Estimating the Social Return to Higher Education: Evidence From Longitudinal and Repeated Cross-Sectional Data," NBER Working Papers 9108, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Frederic Scherer, 1984. "Using Linked Patent and R&D Data to Measure Interindustry Technology Flows," NBER Chapters, in: R&D, Patents, and Productivity, pages 417-464 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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