An Assessment of Small Business' Potential as an Engine of Economic Growth in U.S. Counties
Langan, Luisa Jane
Through this study I examine whether having a larger or more dynamic small business community in a county leads to greater economic growth. I use three specific measures of economic growth measured at the county level: unemployment rate, annual average weekly wage, and poverty rate. I then examine whether increasing the ratio of businesses with fewer than 50 employees to the population or labor force in the county is associated with any change in these economic indicators. I find that an increase in the small business ratio is associated with a decrease in the unemployment rate. I also find that an increase in the small business ratio is associated with an increase in the annual average weekly wage, but that the magnitude of the change is so small that individuals would not be able to feel the change. Furthermore, my research shows that an increase in the small business ratio is associated with a slight increase in the percentage of all individuals who are living in poverty in the county. However, an increase in the ratio of goods-producing small businesses is associated with a reduction in the poverty rate at a decreasing rate. My research provides preliminary information that could help counties make decisions about if or how to promote small business.
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