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This Perspective describes recent trends in entrepreneurial activity in the United States, such as the formation of new businesses and their share of job creation. The trends show that entrepreneurial activity is declining and that the United States lags most other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries. The authors highlight the challenges and opportunities that new and existing small businesses face as a result of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic and frame further avenues for research that would be valuable as U.S. policymakers seek to support these firms in the wake of recent massive disruption to the economy.

This research agenda reflects a deeper investigation of factors that are correlated with entrepreneurial success and how such factors may be cultivated and replicated more broadly. It would be of interest to those seeking to understand how best to support entrepreneurship and promote economic opportunity.

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Funding for this research was provided by gifts from RAND supporters and income from operations. The research was conducted within the RAND Lowy Family Middle-Class Pathways Center with RAND Education and Labor.

This publication is part of the RAND Corporation Perspective series. RAND Perspectives present expert insights on timely policy issues. All RAND Perspectives undergo peer review to ensure high standards for quality and objectivity.

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