Fringe benefits and small businesses: evidence from the federal reserve board small business survey
Data from the 1993 National Survey of Small Businesses (NSSBF) is used to analyse the factors affecting the provision of pensions and health insurance by small businesses. The race of the business owner is found to impact the provision of taxadvantaged fringe benefits, even after accounting for a wide range of other economic and demographic variables. It is not possible to determine why owner race impacts the provision of fringe benefits by small businesses but the significance of the race variable might reflect a lower level of marketing effort by financial service firms in minority-dominated communities. The owner education variable, which is also significant in both the pension and health insurance models, could also be a proxy for the availability of general information about the importance of fringe benefits. With the exception of the sole proprietorship variable, the demographic and economic variables appear to have similar effects on the provision of both pensions and health insurance by small businesses. Some sole proprietors appear to prefer pension benefits to health insurance benefits possibly because pensions allow the business owner to shield some assets in the case of bankruptcy.
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