Carl Magnus Bjuggren, Linköping University, Dan Johansson, Dalarna University, and Hans Sjögren, Linköping University, published “A Note on Employment and Gross Domestic Product in Swedish Family-Owned Businesses: A Descriptive Analysis” on September 19th, 2011 in Family Business Review’s OnlineFirst collection. Mr. Magnus Bjuggren kindly provided the following thoughts on the article.
Who is the target audience for this article?
The primary target audience for this article is researchers within the field of family business but also policymakers and producers of statistics. For instance, we show that the number of family firms is largely affected by economic policy and we suggest how tax authorities and producers of statistics can facilitate research and make data readily accessible to researchers.
What inspired you to be interested in this topic?
Family firms contribute significantly to both employment and gross domestic product (GDP) and constitute a vibrant field of research. The research field has however suffered from poor statistics. Introducing the use of register based micro data and analyzing family ownership in every firm in the Swedish economy was the reason as to why we undertook this project. The idea came to us as one of the co-authors of the article were investigating the Swedish rules for closely-held firms and found that the Swedish Tax Authority traced family relationships in all partnerships and limited stock companies. Information about the number of owners is saved in Statistics Sweden’s registers. Prior to our study, the sheer number of firms in an economy and poor statistics made it impossible to study, in a precise way, the contribution of family firms on a national level.
Were there findings that were surprising to you?
No, not really. The results on listed firms are in line with previous research. As regards the whole economy, our estimates on the contribution to employment and GDP of family owned firms are a bit lower than estimates of earlier studies on for example the US. This was not surprising to us since Sweden in comparison is a small open economy, with many foreign-owned firms, and with a large public sector.
How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?
Hopefully we will see more studies being able to identify family firms using register based micro data. Given our results that family firms are largely affected by public policy we certainly hope that policy makers will become aware of this. Finally, producers of firm statistics could ideally adhere to the need for better data on ownership, voting rights, cash flow rights and kinship.
How does this study fit into your body of work/line of research?
All three co-authors have a keen interest in the dynamics of entrepreneurship, small firms and family businesses.
How did your paper change during the review process?
The paper went through a rather long process concentrating the content to its current form. The associate editor and two anonymous reviewers have been most patient in giving constructive comments that improved the paper significantly. However, our main findings were there from the very start, thus leaving the substance of the paper intact.
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