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Do Entry Regulations Deter Entrepreneurship and Job Creation? Evidence from Recent Reforms in Portugal

  • Lee G. Branstetter
  • Francisco Lima
  • Lowell J. Taylor
  • Ana Venâncio

Recent research has suggested that the reduction of entry regulation can promote firm entry and job creation, but little is known about the quality of firms and jobs created through these reforms. To shed light on this question, we employ data from Portugal, a country which implemented one of the most dramatic and thorough policies of entry deregulation in the industrialized world. The impact of these major changes can be traced with a matched employer-employee database that provides unusually rich information on the quality of founders and employees associated with the new firms. Our assessment indicates that the short term consequences of the reform were just as one would predict with a standard economic model of entrepreneurship: The reform resulted in increased firm formation and employment, but mostly among "marginal firms" that would have been most readily deterred by existing heavy entry regulations. These marginal firms were typically small, owned by relatively poorly-educated entrepreneurs, operating in the low-tech sector (agriculture, construction, and retail trade). These firms were also less likely to survive their first two years than comparable firms that entered prior to the reform. The social impact of entry deregulation may be limited by the quality of the firms it creates.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16473.

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Date of creation: Oct 2010
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Publication status: published as Branstetter, L., Lima, F., Taylor, L., and Venancio, A., "Do Entry Regulations Deter Entrepreneurship and Job Creation? Evidence from Recent Reforms in Portugal." Forthcoming in the Economic Journal.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16473
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  1. Prantl, Susanne & Spitz-Oener, Alexandra, 2009. "How Does Entry Regulation Influence Entry into Self-Employment and Occupational Mobility?," IZA Discussion Papers 4221, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Philippe Aghion & Robin Burgess & Stephen Redding & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2007. "The Unequal Effects of Liberalization: Evidence from Dismantling the License Raj in India," IEW - Working Papers 345, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  3. Axel Dreher & Martin Gassebner, 2007. "Greasing the Wheels of Entrepreneurship? The Impact of Regulations and Corruption on Firm Entry," CESifo Working Paper Series 2013, CESifo Group Munich.
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  7. Antonio Ciccone & Elias Papaioannou, 2007. "Red Tape and Delayed Entry," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(2-3), pages 444-458, 04-05.
  8. Klapper, Leora & Laeven, Luc & Rajan, Raghuram, 2006. "Entry regulation as a barrier to entrepreneurship," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(3), pages 591-629, December.
  9. Uwe Dulleck & Paul Frijters & Rudolf Winter-Ebner, 2003. "Reducing Start-up costs for New Firms: The Double Dividend on the Labor Market," Vienna Economics Papers 0317, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
  10. Richard A. Posner, 1974. "Social Costs of Monopoly and Regulation," NBER Working Papers 0055, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Peltzman, Sam, 1976. "Toward a More General Theory of Regulation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 211-40, August.
  12. Levon Barseghyan, 2008. "Entry costs and cross-country differences in productivity and output," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 145-167, June.
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