Marketing and Entrepreneurship: Research Ideas and Opportunities

By Gerald E. Hills | Go to book overview

of slower overall economic growth. In either case, a large number of new jobs were not created because of the counter-cyclical decline in the smaller firm sectors. On the other hand, this same counter-cyclical phenomena produced a substantial increase in small firms' share of establishment expansions and, at least in 1984-88, a substantial increase in net establishment formations among the largest firms.

Still, the 1984-88 period is unique in economic history. It is a period of below-average growth rate for GNP but above-average growth rate in employment. And, this employment growth occurred through above-average expansions of both large and small firms, whereas net new small firm formations fell below their average. We do not understand what caused this unusual combination of events. We can only identify questions for future research.

The data reported here also show that economic restructuring is not limited to inter-industry shifts in resources. There are also significant intra-industry shifts where employment is moving from and to large and small firms. In construction and manufacturing, changes in scale economies are creating a wealth of new jobs among small firms, whereas declines take place in large firms. On the other hand, in the wholesale and retail trade sectors, changing technologies are shifting employment from small to large firms. Each of these shifts occurs because of economic efforts to bring increased productivity and reduced costs to the industries involved. At the same time, these shifts create huge flows of jobs with four jobs created and three lost for every net new job added to the work force between 1984 and 1988. Clearly, shifts in firm size within industries are important components of the economic restructuring necessary to revitalize the American economy.

Again, our results show that small firms, especially the smallest firms, have significant roles in the U.S. economy. Although long ignored as insignificant individual units, when examined as a sector, these smallest firms become a dominant feature of the dynamics of job creation and industry restructuring. This is especially true of new firm formations, which apparently do much to provide resource mobility, especially job mobility. Overall, U.S. economic growth, both short-term and long-term, depends to a great degree on the behavior of the smallest firm sector, especially births and deaths.


NOTES
1.
For further information on these files, see: Office of Advocacy, "The 1976-86 Linked USEEM Users' Guide" ( Washington, DC: U.S. Small Business Administration, 1988).

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