Small Business Economics

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 227-244

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Gazelles as job creators: a survey and interpretation of the evidence

  • Magnus HenreksonAffiliated withResearch Institute of Industrial Economics Email author 
  • , Dan JohanssonAffiliated withThe Ratio Institute


It is often claimed that small and young firms account for a disproportionately large share of net employment growth. We conduct a meta-analysis of the empirical evidence regarding whether net employment growth rather is generated by a few rapidly growing firms—so-called Gazelles—that are not necessarily small and young. Gazelles are found to be outstanding job creators. They create all or a large share of new net jobs. On average, Gazelles are younger and smaller than other firms, but it is young age more than small size that is associated with rapid growth. Gazelles exist in all industries. They seem not to be overrepresented in high-technology industries, but there is some evidence that they are overrepresented in services.

JEL Classifications

D21 L25 L26 M13 O10 O40


Entrepreneurship Firm growth Flyers Gazelles High-growth firms High-impact firms Job creation Rapidly growing firms