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Small Business and Job Creation: Dissecting the Myth and Reassessing theFacts

  • Steven J. Davis
  • John Haltiwanger
  • Scott Schuh

This paper investigates how job creation and destruction behavior varies by employer size in the U.S. manufacturing sector during the period 1972 to 1988. The paper also evaluates the empirical basis for conventional claims about the job-creating prowess of small businesses. The chief findings and conclusions fall into five categories: (1) Conventional wisdom about the job-creating prowess of small businesses rests on misleading interpretations of the data. (2) Many previous studies of the job creation process rely upon data that are not suitable for drawing inferences about the relationship between employer size and job creation. (3) Large plants and firms account for most newly-created and newly- destroyed manufacturing jobs. (4) Survival rates for new and existing manufacturing jobs increase sharply with employer size. (5) Smaller manufacturing firms and plants exhibit sharply higher gross rates of job creation but not higher net rates.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4492.

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Date of creation: Oct 1993
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Labor Markets, Employment Policy and Job Creation. Lewis Solmon and Alec Levenson, eds. Westview Press, 1994.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4492
Note: EFG LS
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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  1. Mark Gertler & Simon Gilchrist, 1993. "Monetary policy, business cycles and the behavior of small manufacturing firms," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 93-4, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Brown, Charles & Medoff, James, 1989. "The Employer Size-Wage Effect," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1027-59, October.
  3. Anil K. Kashyap & Jeremy C. Stein, 1994. "Monetary Policy and Bank Lending," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy, pages 221-261 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Lilien, David M, 1980. "The Cyclical Pattern of Temporary Layoffs in United States Manufacturing," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 62(1), pages 24-31, February.
  5. Steven J. Davis & John C. Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1998. "Job Creation and Destruction," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262540932, June.
  6. Acs, Zoltan J & Audretsch, David B, 1988. "Innovation in Large and Small Firms: An Empirical Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 678-90, September.
  7. Friedman, Milton, 1992. "Do Old Fallacies Ever Die?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 2129-32, December.
  8. Steven J. DAVIS & John HALTIWANGER, 1996. "Employer Size and the Wage Structure in U.S. Manufacturing," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 41-42, pages 323-367.
  9. Evans, David S., 1986. "The Relationship Between Firm Growth, Size, and Age: Estimates for 100 Manufacturing Industries," Working Papers 86-33, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  10. John Haltiwanger & Steven J Davis & Scott Schuh, 1991. "Published Versus Sample Statistics From The ASM: Implications For The LRD," Working Papers 91-1, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  11. Steve J. Davis & John Haltiwanger, 1991. "Wage Dispersion Between and Within U.S. Manufacturing Plants, 1963-1986," NBER Working Papers 3722, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Quah, Danny, 1993. " Galton's Fallacy and Tests of the Convergence Hypothesis," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 95(4), pages 427-43, December.
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