A public health perspective on small business development: A review of the literature

Alina Schnake-Mahl, Jessica A.R. Williams, Barry Keppard, Mariana Arcaya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Federal spending on non-health entitlement programs, including the Earned Income Tax Credit and SNAP, has decreased as a percent of GDP since 2011, putting social safety net and community and economic development funding at risk. As an important component of community development, small business support programs are also at risk under social spending cuts. While theory suggests that a strong small business sector could protect health by improving socioeconomic conditions and reducing unemployment, the public health implications of reduced support for small business has not been explored. We conducted a scoping literature review of studies indexed by Pubmed, Cochrane Review, Google Scholar, and Academic Search Premier. The literature suggests that small businesses may provide social and economic benefits to communities that likely protect health, especially in economically deprived communities. These health impacts should be considered when policy-makers weigh decisions that affect small businesses and funding for community and economic development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-411
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Urbanism
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 26 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies


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