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The Government as Venture Capitalist: The Long-Run Effects of the SBIR Program

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  • Josh Lerner

Abstract

Public programs to provide early-stage financing to firms, particularly high-technology companies, have become commonplace in the United States and abroad. The long-run effectiveness of these programs, however, has attracted little empirical scrutiny. This paper examines the impact of the largest U.S. public venture capital initiative, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, which has provided over $6 billion to small high-technology firms between 1983 and 1995. Using a unique database" of awardees compiled by the U.S. General Accounting Office, I show that SBIR awardees grew significantly faster than a matched set of firms over a ten-year period. The positive effects of SBIR awards were confined to firms based in zip codes with substantial venture capital activity. The findings are consistent with both the corporate finance literature on capital constraints and the growth literature on the importance of localization effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Josh Lerner, 1996. "The Government as Venture Capitalist: The Long-Run Effects of the SBIR Program," NBER Working Papers 5753, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5753
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    7. R. Glenn Hubbard, 1998. "Capital-Market Imperfections and Investment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 193-225, March.
    8. Lerner, Josh, 1995. " Venture Capitalists and the Oversight of Private Firms," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(1), pages 301-318, March.
    9. Devenow, Andrea & Welch, Ivo, 1996. "Rational herding in financial economics," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 603-615, April.
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    11. Gompers, Paul A, 1995. " Optimal Investment, Monitoring, and the Staging of Venture Capital," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(5), pages 1461-1489, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Christian Keuschnigg & Soren Nielsen, 2001. "Public Policy for Venture Capital," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 8(4), pages 557-572, August.
    2. Hyytinen, Ari & Takalo, Tuomas, 2008. "Investor protection and business creation," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 113-122, June.
    3. Douhan, Robin & Henrekson, Magnus, 2007. "The Political Economy of Entrepreneurship: An Introduction," Working Paper Series 688, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    4. Link, Albert N. & Scott, John T., 2001. "Public/private partnerships: stimulating competition in a dynamic market," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 763-794, April.
    5. Bronwyn Hall, 2004. "The financing of research and development," Chapters,in: Financial Systems, Corporate Investment in Innovation, and Venture Capital, chapter 2 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. Paul Gompers & Josh Lerner, 2001. "The Venture Capital Revolution," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 145-168, Spring.
    7. repec:eee:tefoso:v:136:y:2018:i:c:p:166-177 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. SAU, Lino, 2007. "New Pecking Order Financing for Innovative Firms: an Overview," MPRA Paper 3659, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Doga Kayalar Erdem & David B. Audretsch, 2004. "Determinants Of Scientist Entrepreneurship: An Integrative Research Agenda," Papers on Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy 2004-42, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy Group.
    10. Schertler, Andrea & Stolpe, Michael, 2000. "Venture mania in Europe: Its causes and consequences," Kiel Discussion Papers 358, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    11. Paul Gompers & Josh Lerner & David Scharfstein, 2003. "Entrepreneurial Spawning: Public Corporations and the Genesis of New Ventures, 1986-1999," NBER Working Papers 9816, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Douglas Cumming & Grant Fleming & Armin Schwienbacher, 2008. "Financial intermediaries, ownership structure and the provision of venture capital to SMEs: evidence from Japan," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 59-92, June.
    13. Josh Lerner, 2002. "When Bureaucrats Meet Entrepreneurs: The Design of Effective "Public Venture Capital" Programmes," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(477), pages 73-84, February.
    14. Judit Karsai, 2004. "Can the state replace private capital investors? Public financing of venture capital in Hungary," IEHAS Discussion Papers 0409, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
    15. Kathryn Ibata-Arens, 2008. "Comparing National Innovation Systems in Japan and the United States: Push, Pull, Drag and Jump Factors in the Development of New Technology," Asia Pacific Business Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(3), pages 315-338, July.
    16. Paul A. Gompers & Josh Lerner, 1999. "What Drives Venture Capital Fundraising?," NBER Working Papers 6906, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. John Armour & Douglas Cumming, 2004. "The Legal Road To Replicating Silicon Valley," Working Papers wp281, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
    18. Hyytinen, Ari & Väänänen, Lotta, 2002. "Government Funding of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in Finland," Discussion Papers 832, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    19. Viktoria Kocsis & Victoria Shestalova & Henry van der Wiel & Nick Zubanov & Ruslan Lukach & Bert Minne, 2009. "Relation entry, exit and productivity: an overview of recent theoretical and empirical literature," CPB Document 180, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    20. Martin, Stephen & Scott, John T., 2000. "The nature of innovation market failure and the design of public support for private innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(4-5), pages 437-447, April.
    21. Rainer Fehn & Thomas Fuchs, 2003. "Capital Market Institutions and Venture Capital: Do They Affect Unemployment and Labour Demand?," CESifo Working Paper Series 898, CESifo Group Munich.
    22. Lerner, Joshua, 1998. ""Angel" financing and public policy: An overview," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(6-8), pages 773-783, August.
    23. Douglas J. Cumming & Jeffrey G. MacIntosh, 2003. "Comparative Venture Capital Governance. Private versus Labour Sponsored Venture Capital Funds," CESifo Working Paper Series 853, CESifo Group Munich.

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