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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
Authors Ned Hill


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.