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School of Public Policy Seminar Series on America's Role in a Perilous World

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The Promise and Peril of Entrepreneurship

Event Details

Wednesday, February 28, 2024
Noon - 1:00 PM

School of Public Policy, Room 175
Pepperdine University
Malibu, CA 


For more information about this event, please email sppevents@pepperdine.edu, or call 310.506.7490.

The School of Public Policy is honored to host Robert Fairlie, economist and professor of public policy at the University of California, Los Angeles, (UCLA) as he presents findings from his new book The Promise and Peril of Entrepreneurship published with MIT Press.

Federal, state, and local governments spend billions of dollars annually on incubators, training programs, loan programs, tax breaks, and investor incentives to encourage business formation. These expenditures are often made without knowing whether these programs launch startups that create lasting, decent-paying jobs.

Fairlie’s book provides a broader view of entrepreneurship, based on new comprehensive data including all US businesses that challenge what we know about job creation and survival among US startups. From this perspective, startups create jobs, power, and economic growth in the US economy. However, job creation per startup and survival rates are much lower than those typically reported by federal sources and often touted by pundits as the official number. There is also substantial inequality in startup ownership. For example, we find that 7 percent of startups are Black-owned but 12 percent of the labor force is Black. We also find that Black, Latinx and Native American-owned startups have fewer initial employees, and Asian-owned startups have more initial employees.

Speaker: Robert Fairlie

Robert Fairlie HeadshotProfessor Fairlie is an economist, professor of public policy at UCLA, and member of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). He studies a wide range of topics including entrepreneurship, education, labor, racial, gender, and caste inequality, information technology, immigration, health, and development. He received a PhD and MA from Northwestern University and a BA with honors from Stanford University and has held full-time or visiting positions at UC Santa Cruz, Stanford University, Yale University, UC Berkeley, and Australian National University. He has received funding from the National Science Foundation, National Academies, and Russell Sage Foundation as well as numerous government agencies and foundations, and has testified in front of the US Senate, US House of Representatives, US Department of Treasury, and the California State Assembly.