In this article, we examine how the level of regulation affects the size distribution of businesses. To the extent that regulation functions as a fixed cost, it should lead to larger firm size. However, regulations may also lead to smaller establishments with firms outsourcing regulated activities or staying small to take advantage of state exemptions for small businesses from regulations. We empirically examine the relationship between the size distribution of establishments and the level of regulation using state- and industry-level panel data from 1992 to 2004. Our results suggest that regulation decreases the proportion of zero employee and 1–4 employee establishments. The proportion of establishments in the 5–9 employee range generally increases with the level of regulation. Thus, regulation appears to operate as a fixed cost causing establishments to be larger.
Small Business Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 19, 2013
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