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Ten Facts on Declining Business Dynamism and Lessons from Endogenous Growth Theory
American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics,
In this paper, we review the literature on declining business dynamism and its implications in the United States and propose a unifying theory to analyze the symptoms and the potential causes of this decline. We first highlight 10 pronounced stylized facts related to declining business dynamism documented in the literature and discuss some of the existing attempts to explain them. We then describe a theoretical framework of endogenous markups, innovation, and competition that can potentially speak to all of these facts jointly. We next explore some theoretical predictions of this framework, which are shaped by two interacting forces: a composition effect that determines the market concentration and an incentive effect that determines how firms respond to a given concentration in the economy. The results highlight that a decline in knowledge diffusion between frontier and laggard firms could be a significant driver of empirical trends observed in the data. This study emphasizes the potential of growth theory for the analysis of factors behind declining business dynamism and the need for further investigation in this direction.
Transactional and Relational Approaches to Political Connections and the Cost of Debt
Journal of Corporate Finance,
This paper examines the economic effects of a firm's approach to developing and maintaining political connections. Specifically, we investigate whether lenders favor transactional connection as opposed to relational connection. By tracing firms in a politically volatile emerging democracy in Indonesia, we find that firms following a transactional political connection strategy experience a relatively lower cost of debt than those with a relational strategy. The effect is more pronounced for firms facing high financial distress. The finding is robust to cost of bank loans and a variety of regression methods. Overall, the evidence suggests that in times of frequently changing political regimes, firms benefit from a transactional relationship with politicians as it enables to update connection with the government in power. Relational connection is valuable for a firm only when the political regime connected with it gains power.
Early-Stage Business Formation: An Analysis of Applications for Employer Identification Numbers
NBER Working Paper,
This paper reports on the development and analysis of a newly constructed dataset on the early stages of business formation. The data are based on applications for Employer Identification Numbers (EINs) submitted in the United States, known as IRS Form SS-4 filings. The goal of the research is to develop high-frequency indicators of business formation at the national, state, and local levels. The analysis indicates that EIN applications provide forward-looking and very timely information on business formation. The signal of business formation provided by counts of applications is improved by using the characteristics of the applications to model the likelihood that applicants become employer businesses. The results also suggest that EIN applications are related to economic activity at the local level. For example, application activity is higher in counties that experienced higher employment growth since the end of the Great Recession, and application counts grew more rapidly in counties engaged in shale oil and gas extraction. Finally, the paper provides a description of new public-use dataset, the “Business Formation Statistics (BFS),” that contains new data series on business applications and formation. The initial release of the BFS shows that the number of business applications in the 3rd quarter of 2017 that have relatively high likelihood of becoming job creators is still far below pre-Great Recession levels.
Taking the Leap: The Determinants of Entrepreneurs Hiring Their First Employee
Journal of Economics and Management Strategy,
Job creation is one of the most important aspects of entrepreneurship, but we know relatively little about the hiring patterns and decisions of start‐ups. Longitudinal data from the Integrated Longitudinal Business Database (iLBD), Kauffman Firm Survey (KFS), and the Growing America through Entrepreneurship (GATE) experiment are used to provide some of the first evidence in the literature on the determinants of taking the leap from a nonemployer to employer firm among start‐ups. Several interesting patterns emerge regarding the dynamics of nonemployer start‐ups hiring their first employee. Hiring rates among the universe of nonemployer start‐ups are very low, but increase when the population of nonemployers is focused on more growth‐oriented businesses such as incorporated and employer identification number businesses. If nonemployer start‐ups hire, the bulk of hiring occurs in the first few years of existence. After this point in time, relatively few nonemployer start‐ups hire an employee. Focusing on more growth‐ and employment‐oriented start‐ups in the KFS, we find that Asian‐owned and Hispanic‐owned start‐ups have higher rates of hiring their first employee than white‐owned start‐ups. Female‐owned start‐ups are roughly 10 percentage points less likely to hire their first employee by the first, second, and seventh years after start‐up. The education level of the owner, however, is not found to be associated with the probability of hiring an employee. Among business characteristics, we find evidence that business assets and intellectual property are associated with hiring the first employee. Using data from the largest random experiment providing entrepreneurship training in the United States ever conducted, we do not find evidence that entrepreneurship training increases the likelihood that nonemployers hire their first employee.
The Role of Entrepreneurship in US Job Creation and Economic Dynamism
Journal of Economic Perspectives,
An optimal pace of business dynamics—encompassing the processes of entry, exit, expansion, and contraction—would balance the benefits of productivity and economic growth against the costs to firms and workers associated with reallocation of productive resources. It is difficult to prescribe what the optimal pace should be, but evidence accumulating from multiple datasets and methodologies suggests that the rate of business startups and the pace of employment dynamism in the US economy has fallen over recent decades and that this downward trend accelerated after 2000. A critical factor in accounting for the decline in business dynamics is a lower rate of business startups and the related decreasing role of dynamic young businesses in the economy. For example, the share of US employment accounted for by young firms has declined by almost 30 percent over the last 30 years. These trends suggest that incentives for entrepreneurs to start new firms in the United States have diminished over time. We do not identify all the factors underlying these trends in this paper but offer some clues based on the empirical patterns for specific sectors and geographic regions.
Financial Constraints of Private Firms and Bank Lending Behavior
Journal of Banking & Finance,
We investigate whether and how financial constraints of private firms depend on bank lending behavior. Bank lending behavior, especially its scale, scope and timing, is largely driven by bank business models which differ between privately owned and state-owned banks. Using a unique dataset on private small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) we find that an increase in relative borrowings from local state-owned banks significantly reduces firms’ financial constraints, while there is no such effect for privately owned banks. Improved credit availability and private information production are the main channels that explain our result. We also show that the lending behavior of local state-owned banks can be sustainable because it is less cyclical and neither leads to more risk taking nor underperformance.
Industrial Associations as a Channel of Business-Government Interactions in an Imperfect Institutional Environment: The Russian Case
International lessons from emerging economies suggest that business associations may provide an effective channel of communication between the government and the private sector. This function of business associations may become still more important in transition economies, where old mechanisms for coordinating enterprise activities have been destroyed, while the new ones have not been established yet. In this context, Russian experience is a matter of interest, because for a long time, Russia was regarded as a striking example of state failures and market failures. Consequently, the key point of our study was a description of the role and place of business associations in the presentday
Russian economy and their interaction with member companies and bodies of state
administration. Relying on the survey data of 957 manufacturing firms conducted in
2009, we found that business associations are more frequently joined by larger companies, firms located in regional capital cities, and firms active in investment and innovation. By contrast, business associations tend to be less frequently joined by business groups’ subsidiaries and firms that were non-responsive about their respective ownership structures. Our regression analysis has also confirmed that business associations are a component of what Frye (2002) calls an “elite exchange”– although only on regional and local levels. These “exchanges” imply that members of business associations, on the one hand, more actively assist regional and local authorities in social development of their regions, and on the other hand more often receive support from authorities. However, this effect is insignificant in terms of support from the federal government. In general, our results allow us to believe that at present, business associations (especially the
industry-wide and “leading” ones) consolidate the most active, advanced companies and act as collective representatives of their interests. For this reason, business associations can be regarded as interface units between the authorities and businesses and as a possible instrument for promotion of economic development.