Data for: Crowding Out as a Cause of U.S. Declining Business Dynamism

Published: 10-10-2018| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/nh97x5mc23.1
Chukwudi Ikwueze


A common characteristic of market economies has been the way firms are continually born, failing, expanding, and contracting (Schumpeter, 1942), a process referred to as business dynamism or creative destruction. The United States became the leading market economy due to the dynamic economic expansion recorded over the last two centuries. Over this period, U.S. business dynamism has been positive, meaning that more firms are born than fail, but there has been a noticeable decline, as described by Hathaway and Lithan (2014a, p.1): The U.S. economy is in a constant state of churn. Historically one new business is born about every minute, while another one fails every eighty seconds. In 2012, there were 13.4 million private sector jobs created or destroyed each quarter—that’s equivalent to one in eight private sector jobs. Despite all of that churning, only 600 thousand net jobs were created each quarter during that same year. That’s equal to about half a percent of private employment. Hathaway and Litan (2014c) show that U.S. declining business dynamism affects productivity and entrepreneurship, and results in consolidation of the monopoly power of older firms. Hathaway and Litan (2014b) and Hathaway et al. (2014) further show that U.S. business sector created 12 new firms per business establishment in 1978 to 6.2 in 2011. So, U.S. business dynamism has declined. The question becomes what factors might be contributing to declining business dynamism in the United States? To address this question, this paper examines how U.S. exports and imports, the federal government deficit, and tax-exempt nonprofits may be contributing to declining U.S. business dynamism. Exports and imports are proxies for the effects of foreign competition on the U.S. economy. Intuitively, this may be used to measure the impact of globalization on the business sector. The federal government deficit is a proxy for the role of U.S. government in the economy. Tax-exempt nonprofits are included to find out if the increasing numbers of nonprofits in recent decades has encroached on the traditional activities of profit-making businesses. In other words, the federal government deficit and tax-exempt nonprofits may capture the impact of changing structure of the economy on the business sector. This paper explores how these variables influence the level of business dynamism and is organized as follows. It explores the literature on business dynamism followed by a review to identify variables and sources of data. Then, the paper presents the model specification and test results and interpretations. In sum, we found that the government (federal government deficit) and foreign (compositions of export and import) sectors have impacted negatively on the U.S. business dynamism over the study period. The concluding remarks focus on the policy implications of the study findings.