Are high-growth firms overrepresented in high-tech industries?

PublicationArticle (with peer review)
Dan Johansson, Entreprenörskap, Företagandets villkor, Företagstillväxt, Gaseller, Innovation, Niklas Elert, Snabbväxande företag, Sven-Olov Daunfeldt


It is frequently argued that policymakers should target high-tech firms, i.e., firms with high R&D intensity, because such firms are considered more innovative and therefore potential fast-growers. This argument relies on the assumption that the association among high-tech status, innovativeness and growth is actually positive. We examine this assumption by studying the industry distribution of high-growth firms (HGFs) across all 4-digit NACE industries, using data covering all limited liability firms in Sweden during the period 1997–2008. The results of fractional logit regressions indicate that industries with high R&D intensity can be expected to have a lower share of HGFs than can industries with lower R&D intensity. The findings cast doubt on the wisdom of targeting R&D industries or subsidizing R&D to promote firm growth. In contrast, we find that HGFs are overrepresented in knowledge-intensive service industries, i.e., service industries with a high share of human capital.

Daunfeldt, S.-O., Elert, N., & Johansson, D. (2016). Are high-growth firms overrepresented in high-tech industries?Industrial and Corporate Change, 25(1), 1-21. DOI: 10.1093/icc/dtv035

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