This paper investigates employment growth in small firms funded by the U.S. Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. Using data collected by the National Research Council for each of five federal agencies, our analysis shows that on average over two-fifths of all projects retained zero employees after completion and over one-third retained only one or two employees. Thus, on average, the direct impact of SBIR funded projects on employment is small, especially when compared to the mean number of employees in the firms. However, there are substantial cross-project differences in the number of retained employees that are explained by differences in the firms and their SBIR projects. We find across funding agencies that projects with intellectual property—patents, copyrights, trademarks, or publications—retained more employees after completion of the project. Also, we find that the public funding of research by the SBIR program is more likely to stimulate employment when the government created a market for the products, processes, or services developed by the research projects.
Small Business Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 13, 2010
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