Subject. I investigate the specifics of the State support impact on changes and structure of employment in the Russian sector of small and medium-sized businesses. Objectives. The aim is to identify factors and conditions that have a stimulating and limiting effect on changes in employment indicators in the said sector. Methods. The hypothesis of the study is that the change in the formal employment scale in the medium-term is determined by factors in the external business environment and the costs-benefits ratio of activities in the informal sector. To test the hypothesis, I perform a comparative analysis of scientific research results, study the data of the Federal Tax Service of Russia, and surveys of small businesses. The article employs the classification of business regulation methods, which can be divided into support measures and incentive instruments of direct and indirect influence. Results. The analysis confirmed the hypothesis in general, and made it possible to identify the factors of the dynamics and restructuring of employment. During 2016–2019, insufficient market demand and high degree of risk influenced the dynamics of the number of employees of SMEs more than indirect effects of government support measures. Public policy instruments stimulating employment were targeted, primarily, at sole proprietors and self-employed. In 2020, the government used new instruments to encourage and support employment, which proved to be efficient. Conclusions. It seems realistic to achieve the national target of the number of employed in the considered sector by 2024.
Keywords: small and medium-sized business, support measure, incentive, disincentive
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