Platform-Enabled Small Businesses and the Geography of Recovery
This paper looks at the county-level geographic dispersion of new enterprise formation on eBay compared to new establishment formation in the traditional economy during the 2010-14 recovery. Our research builds upon a 2016 report published by the Economic Innovation Group (EIG) that examined Census Bureau data on the net growth of business establishments over three recovery periods in the past 25 years and revealed that the geographic distribution of new firm growth became increasingly concentrated in a smaller number of more populous counties. We replicated this analysis for eBay-enabled SMEs from 2010-2014 and discovered a significantly more geographically inclusive spread of new enterprise formation on eBay compared to the brick and mortar economy as reported by EIG. We believe the findings point toward Internet-enabled small business growth as a force for economic dynamism and inclusive economic growth that are potentially countering the trends in the traditional economy over the past three recoveries.
The graphic below provides a look at the consolidation of net establishment growth over the past three economic recoveries vs. new enterprise formation on eBay. We invite you to explore our findings to learn more about this and additional data on the Internet-platform economy and the geography of recovery.