Micro-family-owned business : transitory survival mechanism or long term wealth creator?

Vial, Virginie & Garonne, Christophe (2010) Micro-family-owned business : transitory survival mechanism or long term wealth creator? In Langan-Fox, Janice (Ed.) The proceedings of the 7th AGSE International Entrepreneurship Research Exchange, Swinburne University of Technology, University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, pp. 981-987.

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Principal Topic:

Entrepreneurship is key to employment, innovation and growth (Acs & Mueller, 2008), and as such, has been the subject of tremendous research in both the economic and management literatures since Solow (1957), Schumpeter (1934, 1943), and Penrose (1959). The presence of entrepreneurs in the economy is a key factor in the success or failure of countries to grow (Audretsch and Thurik, 2001; Dejardin, 2001). Further studies focus on the conditions of existence of entrepreneurship, influential factors invoked are historical, cultural, social, institutional, or purely economic (North, 1997; Thurik 1996 & 1999). Of particular interest, beyond the reasons behind the existence of entrepreneurship, are entrepreneurial survival and good ''performance'' factors. Using cross-country firm data analysis, La Porta & Schleifer (2008) confirm that informal micro-businesses provide on average half of all economic activity in developing countries. They find that these are utterly unproductive compared to formal firms, and conclude that the informal sector serves as a social security net ''keep[ing] millions of people alive, but disappearing over time'' (abstract). Robison (1986), Hill (1996, 1997) posit that the Indonesian government under Suharto always pointed to the lack of indigenous entrepreneurship , thereby motivating the nationalisation of all industries. Furthermore, the same literature also points to the fact that small businesses were mostly left out of development programmes because they were supposed less productive and having less productivity potential than larger ones. Vial (2008) challenges this view and shows that small firms represent about 70% of firms, 12% of total output, but contribute to 25% of total factor productivity growth on average over the period 1975-94 in the industrial sector (Table 10, p.316). ----------

Methodology/Key Propositions:

A review of the empirical literature points at several under-researched questions. Firstly, we assess whether there is, evidence of small family-business entrepreneurship in Indonesia. Secondly, we examine and present the characteristics of these enterprises, along with the size of the sector, and its dynamics. Thirdly, we study whether these enterprises underperform compared to the larger scale industrial sector, as it is suggested in the literature. We reconsider performance measurements for micro-family owned businesses. We suggest that, beside productivity measures, performance could be appraised by both the survival probability of the firm, and by the amount of household assets formation. We compare micro-family-owned and larger industrial firms' survival probabilities after the 1997 crisis, their capital productivity, then compare household assets of families involved in business with those who do not. Finally, we examine human and social capital as moderators of enterprises' performance. In particular, we assess whether a higher level of education and community participation have an effect on the likelihood of running a family business, and whether it has an impact on households' assets level. We use the IFLS database compiled and published by RAND Corporation. The data is a rich community, households, and individuals panel dataset in four waves: 1993, 1997, 2000, 2007. We now focus on the waves 1997 and 2000 in order to investigate entrepreneurship behaviours in turbulent times, i.e. the 1997 Asian crisis. We use aggregate individual data, and focus on households data in order to study micro-family-owned businesses. IFLS data covers roughly 7,600 households in 1997 and over 10,000 households in 2000, with about 95% of 1997 households re-interviewed in 2000. Households were interviewed in 13 of the 27 provinces as defined before 2001. Those 13 provinces were targeted because accounting for 83% of the population. A full description of the data is provided in Frankenberg and Thomas (2000), and Strauss et alii (2004). We deflate all monetary values in Rupiah with the World Development Indicators Consumer Price Index base 100 in 2000. ----------

Results and Implications:

We find that in Indonesia, entrepreneurship is widespread and two thirds of households hold one or several family businesses. In rural areas, in 2000, 75% of households run one or several businesses. The proportion of households holding both a farm and a non farm business is higher in rural areas, underlining the reliance of rural households on self-employment, especially after the crisis. Those businesses come in various sizes from very small to larger ones. The median business production value represents less than the annual national minimum wage. Figures show that at least 75% of farm businesses produce less than the annual minimum wage, with non farm businesses being more numerous to produce the minimum wage. However, this is only one part of the story, as production is not the only ''output'' or effect of the business. We show that the survival rate of those businesses ranks between 70 and 82% after the 1997 crisis, which contrasts with the 67% survival rate for the formal industrial sector (Ter Wengel & Rodriguez, 2006). Micro Family Owned Businesses might be relatively small in terms of production, they also provide stability in times of crisis. For those businesses that provide business assets figures, we show that capital productivity is fairly high, with rates that are ten times higher for non farm businesses. Results show that households running a business have larger family assets, and households are better off in urban areas. We run a panel logit model in order to test the effect of human and social capital on the existence of businesses among households. We find that non farm businesses are more likely to appear in households with higher human and social capital situated in urban areas. Farm businesses are more likely to appear in lower human capital and rural contexts, while still being supported by community participation. The estimation of our panel data model confirm that households are more likely to have higher family assets if situated in urban area, the higher the education level, the larger the assets, and running a business increase the likelihood of having larger assets. This is especially true for non farm businesses that have a clearly larger and more significant effect on assets than farm businesses. Finally, social capital in the form of community participation also has a positive effect on assets. Those results confirm the existence of a strong entrepreneurship culture among Indonesian households. Investigating survival rates also shows that those businesses are quite stable, even in the face of a violent crisis such as the 1997 one, and as a result, can provide a safety net. Finally, considering household assets - the returns of business to the household, rather than profit or productivity - the returns of business to itself, shows that households running a business are better off. While we demonstrate that uman and social capital are key to business existence, survival and performance, those results open avenues for further research regarding the factors that could hamper growth of those businesses in terms of output and employment.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 32171
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Micro-Family-Owned Business, Survival Mechanisms , Wealth Creator
ISBN: 9780980332865
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Entrepreneurship (150304)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Management
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 [please consult the authors]
Deposited On: 13 May 2010 03:45
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2011 18:05

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