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High-Growth Entrepreneurship

J. David Brown (), John S. Earle, Mee Jung Kim and Kyung Min Lee

Working Papers from U.S. Census Bureau, Center for Economic Studies

Abstract: We study the patterns and determinants of job creation for a large cohort of start-up firms. Analysis of the universe of U.S. employers reveals strong persistence in employment size from firm birth to age seven, with a small fraction of firms accounting for most employment at both ages, patterns that are little explained by finely disaggregated industry controls or amount of finance. Linking to data from the Survey of Business Owners on characteristics of 54,700 founders of 36,400 start-ups, and defining “high growth” as the top 5% of firms in the size distribution at age zero and seven, we find that women have a 30% lower probability of founding high-growth entrepreneurships at both ages. A similar gap for African-Americans at start-up disappears by age seven. Other differences with respect to race, ethnicity, and nativity are modest. Founder age is initially positively associated with high growth probability but the profile flattens after seven years and even becomes slightly negative. The education profile is initially concave, with advanced degree recipients no more likely to found high growth firms than high school graduates, but the former catch up to those with bachelor’s degrees by firm age seven, while the latter do not. Most other relationships of high growth with founder characteristics are highly persistent over time. Prior business ownership is strongly positively associated, and veteran experience negatively associated, with high growth. A larger founding team raises the probability of high growth, while diversity (by gender, age, race/ethnicity, or nativity) either lowers the probability or has little effect. More start-up capital raises the high-growth propensity of firms founded by a sole proprietor, women, minorities, immigrants, veterans, novice entrepreneurs, and those who are younger or with less education. Perhaps surprisingly, women, minorities, and those with less education tend to choose high growth industries, but fewer of them achieve high growth compared to their industry peers.

New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-bec, nep-ent, nep-ino, nep-sbm and nep-tid
Date: 2017-01
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https://www2.census.gov/ces/wp/2017/CES-WP-17-53.pdf First version, 2017 (application/pdf)

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Working Paper: High-Growth Entrepreneurship (2018) Downloads
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