Small Business Economics

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 297–315

Small business and job creation: Dissecting the myth and reassessing the facts

  • Steven J. Davis
  • John Haltiwanger
  • Scott Schuh

DOI: 10.1007/BF00393278

Cite this article as:
Davis, S.J., Haltiwanger, J. & Schuh, S. Small Bus Econ (1996) 8: 297. doi:10.1007/BF00393278


This paper investigates how job creation and destruction behavior varies by employer size in the U.S. manufacturing sector during the period 1972 to 1988. The paper also evaluates the empirical basis for conventional claims about the job-creating prowess of small businesses. The chief findings and conclusions fall into five categories:
  1. (1)

    Conventional wisdom about the job-creating prowess of small businesses rests on misleading interpretations of the data.

  2. (2)

    Many previous studies of the job creation process rely upon data that are not suitable for drawing inferences about the relationship between employer size and job creation.

  3. (3)

    Large plants and firms account for most newly-created and newly-destroyed manufacturing jobs.

  4. (4)

    Survival rates for new and existing manufacturing jobs increase sharply with employer size.

  5. (5)

    Smaller manufacturing firms and plants exhibit sharply higher gross rates of job creation but not higher net rates.


Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven J. Davis
    • 1
  • John Haltiwanger
    • 2
  • Scott Schuh
    • 3
  1. 1.National Bureau of Economic ResearchUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.National Bureau of Economic ResearchUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  3. 3.Federal Reserve BoardUSA

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