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View our academic research, reports, and blog posts that tackle issues of economic and racial inclusion.

Notes from the Field
How the Digital Divide Affects America’s Rural Small Businesses
Creating a healthy small business ecosystem can be difficult in rural areas where there are fewer resources available. By investing in expanding digital access and technical support resources, rural small businesses can get the support they need to overcome these challenges and grow.
Notes from the Field
Community Development at the Fed: Doing the Research, Bringing Disparate Voices to the Table
What started as a pilot survey from the New York Fed has grown to the Small Business Credit Survey—a national data collection tool collaboratively fielded by all 12 Federal Reserve Banks.
Notes from the Field
Section 1071: Finding a Common Ground for Small Business Lending Data Collection
Proposed changes to small business lending reporting could help close information gaps and further equity. Read how.
Notes from the Field
Smallest Firms Reveal Barriers to Economic Inclusion: Lessons from Pandemic Support Programs
Data from the Small Business Credit Survey and insights from community-based organizations prove to be invaluable tools for helping small businesses access the credit they need.
Notes from the Field
Small Businesses in Our Region Appear to Have Had Greater Access to Traditional Credit Compared to the Nation...but Inequalities among Firms Persist
Nearly 18 months from the outbreak of COVID-19, small employer firms—businesses with fewer than 500 employees—continue to cope with the extra challenges the pandemic brought. How are they weathering the pandemic?
Economic Commentary
How Well Did PPP Loans Reach Low- and Moderate-Income Communities?
05.27.2021 | EC 2021-13
We investigate the degree to which Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans reached small businesses in low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities. We find evidence that the program did have a broad reach within LMI communities, but that it reached higher-income communities to a greater extent and areas with Black, Hispanic, and American Indian or Alaska Native majorities to a lesser extent.
Notes from the Field
Equality Is Not Enough: Reflections on the Paycheck Protection Program
Our society often designs and implements policies that prioritize equality, but prioritizing equity or justice would better address the disparities between racial groups.
Community Development Reports
An Uphill Battle: COVID-19’s Outsized Toll on Minority-Owned Firms
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.
Notes from the Field
Partnership Connects Pittsburgh’s Small Businesses to Paycheck Protection Program Funds
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.
Working Paper
The Optimal Taxation of Business Owners
11.19.2019 | WP 19-26
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.]
Community Development Reports
Alternative Lending through the Eyes of “Mom-and-Pop” Small-Business Owners
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.
Small Business Credit Survey
Each year we produce analyses of and reports on the data gathered from small business owners. In partnership with business and industry association, local agencies, and non-profits, the survey captures the perspectives of business owners operating firms with fewer than 500 employees.