By Torsten M. Pieper, Franz W. Kellermanns, Joseph H. Astrachan & Nina Anique Hadeler

The Importance of Family Businesses’ Contribution to the U.S. Economy

A survey provides some updated figures

Everyone involved with family businesses knows that those businesses are important contributors to the U.S. economy. They provide jobs, pay taxes, take care of their communities and are drivers of innovation not only in the United States but also worldwide. Neither the federal nor state governments track family business status in their economic data. The fact that the government doesn’t collect any data on family businesses in a separate category is troubling for many reasons, not the least of which are the estate tax and pass-through income tax implications of current tax policy for business-owning families.

Joseph H. Astrachan and Melissa Carey Shanker laid the framework for establishing the ability to assess the impact of family businesses on the U.S. economy. The authors updated their framework in a 2003 article, which has since become one of the most cited articles regarding the impact of family businesses on the overall economy.

However, it’s been 18 years since the authors last updated their findings. Accordingly, and with the generous support of Family Enterprise USA, we revisited their framework to assess both the accuracy of the estimators for family and non-family businesses (the estimators) and to update the figures concerning their contributions to the U.S. economy.

Policy and Taxation Group is your voice in Washington on economic freedom. We advocate for policies that allow American families to fully enjoy the economic liberties and benefits of a robust free market unique to our nation. For over 25 years, we have been the loudest voice in the nation’s capital on eliminating the death tax. This ill-conceived tax has a destructive impact on families, family businesses, job creation, and the national economy.