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Not All High-Growth Firms Are Alike: Capturing and Tagging Ohio’s Gazelles

Journal Title Economic Development Quarterly
Published Date June 29, 2021
Research Type


In this study, published in Economic Development Quarterly, the authors present a statistically valid typology of high-growth firms (HGFs), also known as gazelles, to determine if payroll and job growth patterns differ between groups or clusters. Cluster–discriminant analysis was conducted on a cohort of 26,104 HGFs s in Ohio, using data from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages from 2010 to 2015. Only 1.2% of all Ohio’s firms can be classified as high growth. The larger herd of gazelles grows consistently, while the other, much smaller pack experiences short, intense growth spurts. Roughly 30% of the two gazelle clusters (Consistent High Growth and Volatile High Growth) are in the information service, financial service, and professional and business service industries, compared with 18% in the low- and slow-growth cluster. The nongazelle HGF cluster has proportionately more businesses in manufacturing and the leisure and hospitality industries than the gazelle clusters.