High-Growth Firms and Family Ownership
Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, 2013, 26(4): 365-385
Posted: 30 Sep 2013 Last revised: 10 Apr 2021
Empirical studies demonstrate that most net job-growth originates from a small number of high-growth firms (HGFs). The purpose of this paper is to analyze whether family ownership matters for being an HGF, using data on all private firms in Sweden during 1993–2006. Our study is possible due to a tax reform that required tax authorities to identify family relations among ultimate owners of every Swedish firm. We find that family ownership at first sight decreases the probability of exhibiting high growth, but further analysis indicates a more complex relationship. The negative effect of family ownership seems to be driven primarily by small firms, and sometimes even becomes positive when firm growth is analyzed over longer time periods. In addition, the negative effect of family ownership is no longer present when we analyze firms that transferred ownership and control for unobserved time-invariant firm-specific heterogeneity.
Keywords: high-growth firms, gazelles, firm growth, firm ownership, family firms
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