Declining Business Dynamism

57 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2018

See all articles by Gert Bijnens

Gert Bijnens

KU Leuven

Jozef Konings

Catholic University of Leuven (KUL) - LICOS - Centrum voor Transitie-economie; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: January 2018


We build on Decker et al. (2016) who show that business dynamism and entrepreneurship in the U.S. have declined over recent decades and that the characteristics of this decline changed around 2000. Since 2000 the U.S. decline in dynamism has been accompanied by a decline in high-growth, young firms. Using 30 years of data from all for-profit firms incorporated in Belgium, we now offer evidence that Belgium, a far more rigid economy than the U.S., experienced a similar decline in dynamism. Furthermore, the decline set in around 2000 as well. We attribute this not only to the declining share of young firms that become high-growth firms, but more importantly also to the declining propensity for small (not necessarily young) firms to experience fast growth. We do not yet know what caused this decline. Since there are remarkable similarities between Belgium and the U.S. with respect to the secular decline in business dynamism, global trends rather than country specific changes are most likely to be at the basis of this evolution. A possible global trend causing dynamism to decline, is the ICT revolution that started the second half of the '90s. We find preliminary indications that industries with higher ICT intensity have experienced a dynamism trend change during that same period and show a steeper dynamism decline.

Keywords: business dynamism, Entry, high-growth firms

Suggested Citation

Bijnens, Gert and Konings, Jozef, Declining Business Dynamism (January 2018). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP12615, Available at SSRN:

Gert Bijnens (Contact Author)

KU Leuven ( email )

Oude Markt 13
Leuven, Vlaams-Brabant 3000

Jozef Konings

Catholic University of Leuven (KUL) - LICOS - Centrum voor Transitie-economie ( email )

Waaistraat 6 - box 3511
Leuven, 3000
+32 16 326 589 (Phone)
+32 16 326 599 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

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