Small Business Economics

, Volume 47, Issue 2, pp 397–419 | Cite as

Does gender matter for job creation? Business ownership and employment growth

  • Tessa ConroyEmail author
  • Stephan Weiler


This research uses an economic growth framework to analyze the impacts of male- and female-owned firms on economic performance. To address the potential endogeneity caused by social factors that may effect both the gender composition of business owners and economic growth, we apply an instrumental variable strategy. Intriguingly, in-depth analysis yielded no evidence of positive agglomeration effects on job growth specifically from gendered measures of firm density. However, the analyses do illuminate the value of considering both the previously unexplored employer/nonemployer firm distinction as well as a gendered perspective of firm ownership in the understanding of regional growth factors. The results show that male-owned firms, particularly male-owned employer firms, have a strong, though negative, relationship to employment growth consistent with national employment trends in male-owned firms during the period of the study.


Gender Entrepreneurship Growth Employment Employer Nonemployer 

JEL Classifications

L26 R11 


  1. Acs, Z. J. (2006). “How is entrepreneurship good for economic growth?” innovations: Technology. Governance, Globalization, 1(1), 97–107. doi: 10.1162/itgg.2006.1.1.97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Acs, Z. J., & Armington, C. (2004). Employment growth and entrepreneurial activity in cities. Regional Studies, 38(8), 911–927. doi: 10.1080/0034340042000280938.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Acs, Z. J., & Armington, C. (2006). Entrepreneurship, geography, and American economic growth. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Acs, Z., & Mueller, P. (2008). Employment effects of business dynamics: Mice, gazelles, and elephants. Small Business Economics, Papers on Entrepreneurship, Growth, and Public Policy, 30, 85–100. doi: 10.1007/s11187-007-9052-3.Google Scholar
  5. Aghion, P., & Howitt, P. (1992). A model of growth through creative destruction. Econometrica, 60(2), 323–351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Armington, C., & Acs, Z. J. (2002). The determinants of regional variation in new firm formation. Regional Studies, 36(1), 33–45. doi: 10.1080/00343400120099843.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Audretsch, D. B., & Keilbach, M. (2004). Entrepreneurship capital and economic performance. Regional Studies, Discussion Papers on Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy, 38(8), 949–959. doi: 10.1080/0034340042000280956.Google Scholar
  8. Beeson, P. E., DeJong, D. N., & Troesken, W. (2001). Population growth in U.S. counties, 1840–1990. Regional Science and Urban Economics, 31(6), 669–699. doi: 10.1016/S0166-0462(01)00065-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Braunerhjelm, P., Acs, Z. J., Audretsch, D. B., & Carlsson, B. (2010). The missing link: Knowledge diffusion and entrepreneurship in endogenous growth. Small Business Economics, 34(2), 105–125. doi: 10.1007/s11187-009-9235-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bunten, D., Weiler, S., Thompson, E. C., & Zahran, S. (2015). Entrepreneurship, information, and growth. Journal of Regional Science, 00, 1–25. doi: 10.1111/jors.12157.Google Scholar
  11. Chinitz, B. (1961). Contrasts in agglomeration: New York and Pittsburgh. The American Economic Review, 51(2), 279–289.Google Scholar
  12. Coleman, S., & Robb, A. M. (2012). A rising tide: Financing strategies for women-owned firms. Stanford: Stanford Economics/Finance.Google Scholar
  13. Deller, S. C. (2010). Spatial variations in the role of microenterprises in economic growth. The Review of Regional Studies, 40(1), 71–97.Google Scholar
  14. Deller, S. C., Tsai, T.-H., Marcouiller, D. W., & English, D. B. K. (2001). The role of amenities and quality of life in rural economic growth. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 83(2), 352–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Deskins, J., Gurley-Calvez, T., & Thompson, E. (2012). Understanding small business activity at the state-level. Small Business Administration, 1–28.Google Scholar
  16. Devine, T. J. (1994). Characteristics of self-employed women in the United States. Monthly Labor Review, 117(3), 20–34.Google Scholar
  17. Fairlie, R. W., & Robb, A. M. (2009). Gender differences in business performance: Evidence from the characteristics of business owners survey. Small Business Economics, 33(4), 375–395. doi: 10.1007/s11187-009-9207-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Feldman, M. P., & Audretsch, D. B. (1999). Innovation in cities: Science-based diversity, specialization and localized competition. European Economic Review, 43, 409–429.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fleming, D. A., & Goetz, S. J. (2011). Does local firm ownership matter? Economic Development Quarterly, 25(3), 277–281. doi: 10.1177/0891242411407312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Florida, R. (2002). The rise of the creative class. Washington Monthly, 34(5), 15–25. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8691.2006.00398.x.Google Scholar
  21. Glaeser, E. L, Kallal, H. D., Scheinkman, J. A. & Shleifer, A. (1992). Growth in cities. Journal of Political Economy, 100(6), 1126–1152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Glaeser, E. L., Kerr, S. P., & Kerr, W. R. (2015). Entrepreneurship and urban growth: An empirical assessment with historical mines. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 97(2), 498–520. doi: 10.1162/REST.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Haines, M. R., & Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research. (2010). Historical, demographic, economic, and social data: The United States, 1790–2002. Accessed May 21, 2015. doi: 10.3886/ICPSR02896.v3.
  24. Haynes, G. W. (2010). Income and wealth: How did households owning small businesses fare from 1998 to 2007. Technical report January. Small Business Administration, 3–46.Google Scholar
  25. Henderson, J. V. (1997). Externalities and industrial development. Journal of Urban Economics, 42(3), 449–470. doi: 10.1006/juec.1997.2036.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Henderson, V. (2003). Marshall’s scale economies. Journal of Urban Economics, 53(1), 1–28. doi: 10.1016/S0094-1190(02)00505-3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Henderson, V., Kuncoro, A., & Turner, M. (1995). Industrial development in cities. Journal of Political Economy, 103(5), 1067. doi: 10.1086/262013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Henderson, J., & Weiler, S. (2009). Entrepreneurs and job growth: Probing the boundaries of time and space. Economic Development Quarterly, 24(1), 23–32. doi: 10.1177/0891242409350917.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Huang, T. L., Orazem, P. F., & Wohlgemuth, D. (2002). Rural population growth, 1950–1990: The roles of human capital, industry structure, and government policy. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 84, 615–627. doi: 10.1111/1467-8276.00323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Isserman, A. M. (2006). 1.5 million missing numbers: Overcoming employment suppression in county business patterns data. International Regional Science Review, 29, 311–335. doi: 10.1177/0160017606290359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Jacobs, J. (1969). The economy of cites. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  32. Low, S. A., & Weiler, S. (2012). Employment risk, returns, and entrepreneurship. Economic Development Quarterly, 26(3), 238–251. doi: 10.1177/0891242412452445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Matsa, D. A., & A. R. Miller. (2014). Workforce reductions at women-owned businesses in the United States. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 67(2), 422–452.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mushinski, D., & Weiler, S. (2002). A note on the geographic interdependencies of retail market areas. Journal of Regional Science, 42(1), 75–86. doi: 10.1111/1467-9787.00250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Partridge, M. D., Rickman, D. S., Ali, K., & Rose Olfert, M. (2009). Do new economic geography agglomeration shadows underlie current population dynamics across the urban hierarchy? Papers in Regional Science, 88, 445–466. doi: 10.1111/j.1435-5957.2008.00211.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Patrick, C., Stephens, H., & Weinstein, A. (2016). Where are all the self-employed women? Push and pull factors influencing female labor market decisions. Small Business Economics, 46(3), 365–390. doi: 10.1007/s11187-015-9697-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Roback, J. (1982). Wages, rents, and the quality of life. The Journal of Political Economy, 90(6), 1257–1278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Romer, P. (1986). Increasing returns and long-run growth. The Journal of Political Economy, 94(5), 1002–1037.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Romer, P. (1990). Endogenous technological change. Journal of Politica, 98(5), S71–S102. doi: 10.1086/261725.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rosenthal, S. S., & Strange, W. C. (2003). Geography, industrial organization, and agglomeration. Review of Economics and Statistics, 85, 377–393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Rosenthal, S. S., & Strange, W. C. (2012). Female entrepreneurship, agglomeration, and a new spatial mismatch. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 3(3), 764–788.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Rupasingha, A., & Goetz, S. J. (2011). Self-employment and local economic performance: Evidence from US counties*. Papers in Regional Science. doi: 10.1111/j.1435-5957.2011.00396.x.Google Scholar
  43. Schumpeter, J. (1934). The theory of economic development: An inquiry into profits, capital, credit, interest, and the business cycle. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Shrestha, S. S., Goetz, S. J., & Rupasingha, A. (2007). Proprietorship formations and U.S. job growth. The Review of Regional Studies, 37(2), 146–168.Google Scholar
  45. Stephens, H. M., & Partridge, M. D. (2011). Do entrepreneurs enhance economic growth in lagging regions? Growth and Change, 42(4), 431–465. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2257.2011.00563.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Stephens, H. M., Partridge, M. D., & Faggian, A. (2013). Innovation, entrepreneurship and economic growth in lagging regions. Journal of Regional Science, 53(5), 778–812. doi: 10.1111/jors.12019.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Thilmany, D., McKenney, N., Mushinski, D., & Weiler, S. (2005). Beggar-thy-neighbor economic development: A note on the effect of geographic interdependencies in rural retail markets. Annals of Regional Science, 39(3), 593–605. doi: 10.1007/s00168-005-0229-x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Thompson, E. C., Hammond, G. W., & Weiler, S. (2006). Amenities, local conditions, and fiscal determinants of factor growth in rural America (The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Working Paper RWP-06-08). doi: 10.2139/ssrn.912797.
  49. U.S. Department of Commerce. (2010). Women-owned businesses in the 21st century. U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration for the White Council on Women and Girls, pp 1–115.Google Scholar
  50. Weiler, S. (2000). Pioneers and settlers in lo-do denver: Private risk and public benefits in urban redevelopment. Urban Studies, 37(1), 167–179. doi: 10.1080/0042098002348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Weiler, S., & Bernasek, A. (2001). Dodging the glass ceiling? Networks and the new wave of women entrepreneurs. The Social Science Journal, 38(1), 85–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Weiler, S., Conroy, T., & Yeadon, M. (2013). Colorado innovation report. Technical report. Denver: Colorado Innovation Network.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agricultural and Applied EconomicsUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA

Personalised recommendations