nep-sbm New Economics Papers
on Small Business Management
Issue of 2012‒11‒03
eleven papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
University of Beira Interior and Technical University of Lisbon

  1. Innovation Systes and Knowledge-Intensive Enterpreneurship: a Country Case Study of Poland By Richard Woodward; Elzbieta Wojnicka; Wojciech Pander
  2. The transatlantic productivity gap: Is R&D the main culprit? By Raquel Ortega-Argilés; Mariacristina Piva; Marco Vivarelli
  3. Firm size and unrelated diversification. An empirical test on the ‘survivalist hypothesis’ By Enrico Guzzini; Donato Iacobucci
  4. The role of ownership as R&D incentive in business groups By Enrico Guzzini; Donato Iacobucci
  5. Demand or productivity: What determines firm growth? By A. Pozzi; Fabiano Schivardi
  6. Entrepreneurial Activity in the Venture Creation and Development Process By M. WRIGHT; S. MARLOW
  7. The role of technological change in green growth By Popp, David
  9. Drivers of entrepreneurship and post-entry performance : microeconomic evidence from advanced and developing countries By Vivarelli, Marco
  10. Asymmetries with R&D-Driven Growth and Heterogeneous Firms. By Frédéric Olland
  11. A “Human Growth” Perspective on Organizational Resources and Firm Performance By Silvia Sacchetti; Ermanno C. Tortia

  1. By: Richard Woodward; Elzbieta Wojnicka; Wojciech Pander
    Abstract: This study surveys the current state of affairs in Poland with regard to the development of knowledge-intensive entrepreneurship (KIE), or new firm creation in industries considered to be science-based or to use research and development (R&D) intensively. We place KIE in Poland in the larger institutional context, outlining the key features of the country’s National Innovation System, and then focus on KIE itself. Our findings are perhaps more optimistic than many previous studies of knowledge-based economy development in Poland. We observe significant progress due to Polish access to the European Union. The frequency with which universities are playing a significant role as partners for firms in the innovation process has increased significantly; moreover, we observe a significant degree of internationalization of innovation-related cooperation. Another optimistic development is that the level of activity of venture capitalists seems to be fairly high in Poland considering the relatively low degree of development of capital markets offering VC investors exit opportunities. Moreover, after almost two decades of decline in the share of R&D spending in GDP, there are signs that this is beginning to rise, and that businesses are beginning to spend more on R&D. While demand-side problems continue to be significant barriers for the development of KIE, due to the relatively low level of education and GDP per capita in the country, the trends here are optimistic, with high rates of economic growth and improvements in the level of education of younger generations. Significant improvement is still needed in the area of intellectual property protection.
    Keywords: Knowledge-Based Economy, Entrepreneurship, Transition, Post-Communist, SMEs, Poland
    JEL: L26 O31 O52 P27
    Date: 2012–10
  2. By: Raquel Ortega-Argilés (Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisboa, Portugal); Mariacristina Piva (DISCE, Università Cattolica); Marco Vivarelli (DISCE, Università Cattolica)
    Abstract: The literature has pointed to different causes to explain the productivity gap between Europe and United States in the last decades. This paper tests the hypothesis that the lower European productivity performance in comparison with the US can be explained not only by a lower level of corporate R&D investment, but also by a lower capacity to translate R&D investment into productivity gains. The proposed microeconometric estimates are based on a unique longitudinal database covering the period 1990-2008 and comprising 1,809 US and European companies for a total of 16,079 observations. Consistent with previous literature, we find robust evidence of a significant impact of R&D on productivity; however – using different estimation techniques - the R&D coefficients for the US firms always turn out to be significantly higher. To see to what extent these transatlantic differences may be related to the different sectoral structures in the US and the EU, we differentiated the analysis by sectors. The result is that both in manufacturing, services and high-tech sectors US firms are more efficient in translating their R&D investments into productivity increases.
    Keywords: R&D, productivity, embodied technological change, US, EU
    JEL: O33
    Date: 2012–09
  3. By: Enrico Guzzini (Università degli Studi e-Campus, Italy); Donato Iacobucci (Dept. of Information Engineering Università Politecnica delle Marche, Italy)
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to empirically verify the hypothesis of a U shaped relation between size and unrelated diversification. Specifically we test the so called “survivalist hypothesis” according to which unrelated diversification is observed not only in large firms but also in small firms as a result of poor performance in the initial business. We empirically test this hypothesis using a representative sample of Italian business groups. The empirical results confirm the presence of a U shaped relation between size and unrelated diversification. Small groups are more diversified than medium-sized groups. We think that this is an interesting result, since according to traditional theories of diversification (resource based view and agency view) we should expect a linear and positive relation between size and unrelated diversification. The second novelty of the paper is that of considering the group rather than the single legal entity as unit of analysis. This is specifically appropriate in this case as unrelated diversification is often carried out by setting-up or acquiring new companies.
    Keywords: diversification; firm size; business groups
    JEL: L25 L26
    Date: 2012–10
  4. By: Enrico Guzzini (Università degli Studi e-Campus, Italy); Donato Iacobucci (Dept. of Information Engineering Università Politecnica delle Marche, Italy)
    Abstract: Several empirical papers have shown that firms belonging to business groups have a higher propensity to engage in R&D. The purpose of the paper is to demonstrate that this higher propensity depends on the ownership share of controlled companies, besides the presence of co-ordination mechanisms. We develop an analytical model and we empirically test the predictions of the model using a dataset of Italian manufacturing firms. From the development of this model we derive three main implications: a) that there is no difference in R&D propensity between stand-alone firms and firms at the bottom of business groups; b) that head and intermediate firms have a higher R&D propensity compared to stand-alone and firms at the bottom of the group; c) that the intensity of R&D depends on the ownership shares in controlled companies. Overall the results of the empirical analysis are in accordance with the implications of the model.
    Keywords: business groups; R&D investment; knowledge spillovers.
    JEL: L2 O32
    Date: 2012–10
  5. By: A. Pozzi; Fabiano Schivardi
    Abstract: We disentangle the contribution of unobserved heterogeneity in idiosyncratic demand and productivity to firm growth. We use a model of monopolistic competition with Cobb-Douglas production and a dataset of Italian manufacturing firms containing unique information on firm-level prices to reach three main conclusions. First, demand shocks are at least as important as productivity shocks for firm growth. Second, firms respond to shocks less than a frictionless model would predict, suggesting the existence of adjustment frictions. Finally, the degree of under-response is much larger for TFP shocks. This implies the existence of frictions with differential effects according to the nature of the shock, unlike the typical frictions studied by the literature on factor misallocation. We consider hurdles to firm reorganization as one such friction and show that they hamper firms’ responses to TFP shocks but not to demand shocks.
    Keywords: TFP; demand heterogeneity; firm growth; misallocation
    JEL: D24 L11
    Date: 2012
    Abstract: This introductory comment to the special edition notes the complex and dynamic nature of the new venture creation process. Although the growing body of work which explores discrete elements of this process is acknowledged, in-depth analyses of the ‘black box’ of new venture creation remain scarce. Thus, this special edition features papers which recognise and explore how entrepreneurial actors and their ventures progress within and between the various phases necessary to establish viable new firms within differing and uncertain contexts. Three papers are featured offering a diverse range of perspectives upon the challenges encountered during new venture creation and the strategies adopted to address these issues. Drawing from these articles, we present a more nuanced processual view of entrepreneurial activity in the venture creation and development process and in addition, suggest pathways for future research to develop this debate.
    Keywords: Entrepreneurship, new venture creation and development.
    Date: 2012–06
  7. By: Popp, David
    Abstract: By reducing the costs of environmental protection, technological change is important for promoting green growth. This entails both the creation of new technologies and more widespread deployment of existing green technologies. This paper reviews the literature on environmentally friendly technological change, with a focus on lessons relevant to developing countries. It begins with a discussion of the data available for measuring the various steps of technological change. It continues with a discussion of sources of environmental innovation. Given that most innovation is concentrated in a few rich countries, this leads to a discussion of the remaining role for lower-income countries, followed by a discussion of technology transfer. Because of the importance of market failures, the paper discusses the role of both technology policy and environmental policy for promoting environmentally friendly technological change. The review concludes with a discussion of what environmental economists can learn from other fields.
    Keywords: Environmental Economics&Policies,ICT Policy and Strategies,Technology Industry,E-Business,Climate Change Mitigation and Green House Gases
    Date: 2012–10–01
    Abstract: The purpose of this special issue is to promote research on the role of family in nurturing entrepreneurial ventures as well as on the importance of strategic entrepreneurship in maintaining the strength and viability of established and multigenerational family firms. Two related research questions are at the heart of this inquiry: (1) In what ways does the influence of family matter to strategic entrepreneurship?; and (2) How can strategic entrepreneurship contribute to understanding and strengthening family firms? We begin this introductory paper by providing a brief overview of the contributions of each of the papers in this issue. We then develop a framework for addressing the role of family firms in strategic entrepreneurship that highlights the input-process-output nature of strategic entrepreneurship in family business and the contexts in which they occur. We conclude by outlining a research agenda for future research in this area along the themes relating to this framework.
    Date: 2012–06
  9. By: Vivarelli, Marco
    Abstract: The aim of this study is to provide a microeconomic investigation of the concept of entrepreneurship; in particular, it discusses the following issues: 1) the alternative ways of looking at entrepreneurship, distinguishing"creative destruction"from simple"turbulence"; 2) the different microeconomic determinants of new firm formation, distinguishing"progressive"from"regressive"drivers; 3) the relationship between ex-ante characteristics (of the founder) and post-entry performance (of the new firm); and 4) the possible scope for an economic policy aimed at maximizing the impact of entrepreneurship on economic growth. Where possible and appropriate, the paper devotes particular attention to the specific features characterizing entrepreneurship in developing countries.
    Keywords: Microfinance,Access to Finance,Environmental Economics&Policies,Small Scale Enterprise,Banks&Banking Reform
    Date: 2012–10–01
  10. By: Frédéric Olland
    Abstract: This paper studies the impact of trade liberalization on the productivity growth of two asymmetric countries in a R&D driven growth model with heterogeneous firms. The Melitz’s reallocation of production induces positive but asymmetric productivity gains. Growth is also affected in an asymmetric way because trade liberalization reduces innovation incentives with a different strength in the two countries. A more productive country suffers a higher slowdown in the productivity growth rate.
    Keywords: heterogeneous firms, trade and endogenous growth, productivity gap.
    JEL: F43 O47
    Date: 2012
  11. By: Silvia Sacchetti; Ermanno C. Tortia
    Abstract: We define immaterial satisfaction as the degree of wellbeing that workers derive from creativity, autonomy, and personal growth, overall self-fulfillment. These are dimensions of satisfaction that we relate, from American pragmatism, to the use of creative intelligence. The paper deals with the mediating role of immaterial satisfaction between organizational processes (defined by teamwork, on-the-job autonomy and involvement) and organizational performance (defined in terms of improvements in product quality and innovation). We address this relationship in the Italian social service sector. To this end, we implement a structural equation model including both observed and latent variables using a survey dataset that concerns 4134 workers and 320 not-for-profit social cooperatives. The analysis of direct, indirect and total effects in the structural model shows that autonomous innovation positively influences performance. It also shows that impact immaterial satisfaction adds to the impact of worker involvement in making involvement bear positively on performance, while it also reduces the negative impact of task-autonomy. Common method bias is controlled for by resorting to post-hoc testing and by introducing three distal sources of subjective data from directors, managers and paid workers
    Keywords: Dewey, satisfaction, creativity, autonomy, involvement, firm performance
    JEL: J28 J81 L15 L25 L84 M54
    Date: 2012

This nep-sbm issue is ©2012 by Joao Carlos Correia Leitao. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.