Self-Employment, Small Firms and Enterprise

89 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2011 Last revised: 31 Oct 2011

Date Written: October 13, 2011


For many months the British government has been trying to convince the nation that it wants to promote economic growth. The evidence suggests that the economic giants of the future are the very smallest firms of today. This being the case, no policy to increase growth can neglect obstacles that face the self-employed and small businesses.

The self-employed and small businesses form a sector of the economy that is difficult to research and little understood. However, Peter Urwin, Director of the Centre for Employment Research at Westminster Business School, provides radical insights in this IEA publication. In particular he shows how the self-employed and employees of small firms have a very different profile from the employees of large firms. If we prevent small firms from flourishing we will cut off opportunities for large sectors of society who may struggle to find alternative employment. Furthermore, the nature of entrepreneurship is such that government policy can never identify successful firms in advance. The only option is to de-regulate business so that tomorrow’s successful firms are not strangled at birth.

This publication is important reading for those who wish to understand a sector that employs nearly one third of the British workforce. It is also vital reading for those who wish to develop the policies that will liberate a culture of entrepreneurship within the UK.

Keywords: Employment, regulation, entrepreneurship, economic growth

JEL Classification: J00, J20, J23, J24

Suggested Citation

Urwin, Peter, Self-Employment, Small Firms and Enterprise (October 13, 2011). Institute of Economic Affairs Monographs, Research Monograph No. 66/2011. Available at SSRN:

Peter Urwin (Contact Author)

University of Westminster ( email )

Economics and Quantitative Methods Department
309 Regent Street
London W1R 8AL
United Kingdom

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics