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David B. Audretsch

Titles by This Author


It once took two decades to replace one-third of the Fortune 500; now a subset of new firms are challenging and displacing this elite group at a breathtaking rate, while armies of startups come and go within just a few years. Most new jobs are, in fact, coming from small firms, reversing the trend of a century. David Audretsch takes a close look at the U.S. economy in motion, providing a detailed and systematic investigation of the dynamic process by which industries and firms enter into markets, either grow and survive, or disappear. He shapes a clear understanding of the role that small, entrepreneurial firms play in this evolutionary process and in the asymmetric size distribution of firms in the typical industry.

Audretsch introduces the large longitudinal database maintained by the U.S. Small Business Administration that is used to identify the startup of new firms and track their performance over time. He then provides different snapshots of the process of industries in motion: why new-firm startup activity varies so greatly across industries; what happens to these firms after they enter the market; the extent to which entrepreneurial firms account for an industry's economic activity and why that measure varies across industries; how small firms compensate for size-related disadvantages; and who exits and why.

Audretsch concludes that the structure of industries is characterized by a high degree of fluidity and turbulence, even as the patterns of evolution vary considerably from industry to industry. The dynamic process by which firms and industries evolve over time is shaped by three fundamental factors: technology, scale economies, and demand. Most important, the evidence suggests that it is the differences in the knowledge conditions and technology underlying each specific industry—key elements in innovation—that are responsible for the pattern particular to that industry.


Utilizing a unique data set, Zoltan Acs and David Audretsch provide a rich empirical analysis of the increased importance of small firms in generating technological innovations and their growing contribution to the U.S. economy. They identify the contributions made by both small and large firms to the innovative process and the manner in which market structure, and the firm-size distribution in particular, responds to technological change. The authors' analysis relies on traditional theories of industrial organization and tests existing hypotheses, many of them previously untested due to data constraints.

Innovation and Small Firms brings together two large data bases recently released by the U. S. Small Business Administration - one directly measuring innovative activity for large and small firms, the other providing a detailed census of economic activity for all manufacturing firms and plants across a broad spectrum of industries.

Acs and Audretsch describe and evaluate the data bases in the context of the literature on innovation, market structure, and firm size. They present their findings on the presence of small firms, small-firm entry in manufacturing, small-firm growth and flexible technology, and mobility and firm size. They compare static and dynamic measures of small-firm viability and address the relationships between R&D, innovation, and productivity, and analyze the interaction between technological regimes and the role of government in innovation.

Zoltan Acs is an Associate Professor of Economics at the Merrick School of Business, the University of Baltimore. David Audretsch is a Research Fellow at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung in West Berlin.

This collection of essays addresses the vital question of how much the theory of direct foreign investment - developed a decade ago before many drastic changes took place on the international economic scene - still holds. Grouped in five major sections, they cover The Theory of Direct Foreign Investment; Industrial Organization and International Markets; Country Studies; International Finance; and Implications for the United States.

Titles by This Editor

This collection of essays addresses the vital question of how much the theory of direct foreign investment - developed a decade ago before many drastic changes took place on the international economic scene - still holds. Grouped in five major sections, they cover The Theory of Direct Foreign Investment; Industrial Organization and International Markets; Country Studies; International Finance; and Implications for the United States.