Financing Constraints and Entrepreneurship
| Peter Klein |
Speaking of banks, here’s a very good survey of the entrepreneurship literature on financing constraints by William Kerr and Ramana Nanda, just out from NBER. From the introduction:
The first research stream considers the impact of financial market development on entrepreneurship. These papers usually employ variations across regions to examine how differences in observable characteristics of financial sectors (e.g., the level of competition among banks, the depth of credit markets) relate to entrepreneurs’ access to finance and realized rates of firm formation. The second stream employs variations across individuals to examine how propensities to start new businesses relate to personal wealth or recent changes therein. The notion behind this second line of research is that an association of individual wealth and propensity for self-employment or firm creation should be observed only if financial constraints for entrepreneurship exist.
These two streams of research have remained mostly separate literatures within economics, driven in large part by the different levels of analysis. Historically their general results have been mostly complementary. More recently, however, empirical research using individual-level variation has questioned the extent to which financing constraints are important for entrepreneurship in advanced economies. This new work argues that the strong associations between the financial resources of individuals and entrepreneurship observed in previous studies are driven to large extents by unobserved heterogeneity rather than substantive financing constraints. These contrarian studies have led to renewed interest and debate in how financing environments impact entrepreneurship in product markets.