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Do Small Businesses Create More Jobs? New Evidence from the National Establishment Time Series

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  • David Neumark
  • Brandon Wall
  • Junfu Zhang

Abstract

We use a new database, the National Establishment Time Series (NETS), to revisit the debate about the role of small businesses in job creation. Birch (e.g., 1987) argued that small firms are the most important source of job creation in the U.S. economy, but Davis et al. (1996a) argued that this conclusion was flawed, and based on improved methods and using data for the manufacturing sector they concluded that there was no relationship between establishment size and net job creation. Using the NETS data, we examine evidence for the overall economy, as well as for different sectors. The results indicate that small establishments and small firms create more jobs, on net, although the difference is much smaller than what is suggested by Birch's methods. However, the negative relationship between establishment size and job creation is much less clear for the manufacturing sector, which may explain some of the earlier findings contradicting Birch's conclusions.

Suggested Citation

  • David Neumark & Brandon Wall & Junfu Zhang, 2008. "Do Small Businesses Create More Jobs? New Evidence from the National Establishment Time Series," NBER Working Papers 13818, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13818
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • L53 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Enterprise Policy

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