Small Business Economics

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 563-579

First online:

Influence of family ownership on small business growth. Evidence from French SMEs

  • Anaïs HamelinAffiliated withLaRGE, EM Strasbourg Business School & Université de Strasbourg Email author 

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The performance implications of family ownership have been studied extensively. However, studies that investigate the influence of family ownership on small business growth remain scarce and suffer from several shortcomings. To remedy these shortcomings, this paper uses a very large sample of French SMEs to explore the relationship between family ownership and small business growth. First, this study shows that there is a negative, although non-monotonic, relationship between family ownership and small business economic growth. Second, it explores the channel through which family ownership affects firm growth. Results suggest that firms with greater family ownership are prone to below-potential rates of economic growth, given their internal financing resources. Overall, the results suggest that small family businesses have a propensity to deliberately limit their growth (i.e., they adopt conservative growth behavior).


Small business Family ownership Growth Performance

JEL Classifications

G32 L25 L26