Competencies and Institutions Fostering High-growth Firms

PublicationArticle (with peer review)
Dan Johansson, Egenföretagande, Entreprenör, Företagandets villkor, Gaseller, Industri, Innovation, Institutionell ekonomi, Kompetensblock, Magnus Henrekson, Regleringar, Skatter, Snabbväxare


High-growth firms (HGFs) are critical for net job creation and economic growth. We analyze HGFs using the theory of competence blocs, linking firm growth to property rights and the interaction of complementary expertise. Specifically, we discuss how the institutional framework affects the prevalence and performance of HGFs. Firm growth is viewed as resulting from the perpetual discovery and use of productive knowledge. A key element in this process is the competence bloc, a nexus of economic actors with complementary competencies that are vital in order to generate and commercialize novel ideas. The institutional framework determines the incentives for these individuals to acquire and utilize knowledge. We identify a number of institutions that foster the emergence of competence blocs and the creation of HGFs. In particular, our analysis points to the pivotal roles played by tax structures, labor market regulation, and the contestability of currently closed service markets. Finally, we characterize institutions beneficial for sclerotic or dynamic capitalism, respectively, depending on whether they provide a favorable environment for the emergence of competence blocs and the creation of HGFs.

Related content: Working Paper No. 123

Henrekson, M. & Johansson, D. (2009). ”Competencies and Institutions Fostering High-growth Firms.”Foundations and Trends in Entrepreneurship, 5(1): 1-80.

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