Small Business Economics

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 425–438 | Cite as

Determinants of growth in non-farm proprietor densities in the US, 1990–2000

  • Stephan J. Goetz
  • Anil Rupasingha


The number of non-farm proprietorships in the US has expanded significantly in past decades, but this expansion has not occurred evenly over space. Regression analysis correcting for spatial autocorrelation reveals that proprietors respond rationally to economic incentives. Parameter estimates for variables measuring collateral, age, ethnic mix, government policy, female labor force participation, and natural amenities, each have the expected signs. A few options are available to policymakers for influencing growth in self-employment densities over time.


County-level Non-farm proprietor employment density Spatial effects 

JEL Classifications

L26 J24 



Senior authorship is shared equally. The authors gratefully acknowledge the valuable comments of the editor and anonymous reviewers.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development, Department of Agricultural and Regional EconomicsThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural Economics and AgribusinessNew Mexico State UniversityLas CrucesUSA

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