Incubation Push or Business Pull? Investigating the Geography of US Business Incubators

Haifeng Qian
Kingsley E. Haynes


The primary purposes of this paper are to present the geographic distribution of US business incubators and to explore geographically bounded factors that influence the location of business incubators. Our data show that US business incubators are unevenly distributed across the urban/rural division, states, as well as counties. Factor analysis identifies three common factors from 27 demographic, social, and economic variables drawn from publicly available data at the county level. These factors include agglomeration, welfare, and business/entrepreneurship. The results of binominal logistic regressions suggest that incubators are more likely to be found in counties with high levels of agglomeration but low levels of existing business development. Our findings support the “incubation push” model over the “business pull” model on the location of business incubators, which reflects the policy strategy of incubator creation.