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Small Business

  • Equality Is Not Enough: Reflections on the Paycheck Protection Program


    Treye Johnson

    Our society often designs and implements policies that prioritize equality, but prioritizing equity or justice would better address the disparities between racial groups. Read More

  • An Uphill Battle: COVID-19’s Outsized Toll on Minority-Owned Firms


    Lucas Misera

    Data suggest that minority-owned small businesses have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. This report considers various data sources and examines possible explanations for race-level differences in COVID-19’s impact on businesses. Read More

  • Partnership Connects Pittsburgh’s Small Businesses to Paycheck Protection Program Funds


    Drew Pack

    Community partnerships are essential for local responsiveness during a crisis. Just one such Pittsburgh partnership led to saving more than 100 jobs and securing more than $1.3 million in PPP funds. Read More

  • Small Business Credit Survey 2019 Report on Minority-Owned Firms


    This report examines the state of minority-owned businesses, offering insights on their performance, access to financing, and experiences in the credit market. Read More

  • The Optimal Taxation of Business Owners


    Tom Phelan

    Business owners in the United States are disproportionately represented among the very wealthy and are exposed to substantial idiosyncratic risk. Further, recent evidence indicates business income primarily reflects returns to the human (rather than financial) capital of the owner. Motivated by these facts, this paper characterizes the optimal taxation of income and wealth in an environment where business income depends jointly on innate ability, luck, and the accumulated past effort exerted by the owner. I show that in (constrained) efficient allocations, more productive entrepreneurs typically bear more risk and that the associated stationary distributions of income, wealth, and firm size exhibit the thick right (Pareto) tails observed in the data. Finally, when owners may save in a risk-free bond and trade shares of their business, I show that the optimal linear taxes in this environment call for positive taxes on firm profits and risk-free savings, and for a tax/subsidy on wealth that may assume either sign. [Note: The final sentence of the abstract was revised for clarity two days after the paper was initially posted.] Read More

  • Alternative Lending through the Eyes of “Mom-and-Pop” Small-Business Owners


    Barbara J Lipman Ann Marie Wiersch

    The online alternative lending industry is reportedly growing rapidly, and recent surveys indicate that small businesses are increasingly borrowing from these online sources that tout quick funding and less-stringent borrower requirements. Read More