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Firm size distributions: An overview of steady-state distributions resulting from firm dynamics models

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  • de Wit, Gerrit
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    Abstract

    Empirical firm size distributions are the cumulated result of underlying firm dynamics involving entry of new firms and growth, decline, and exits of incumbent firms. In this improved version of the research�report "Firm size distributions" (H200306), we give an overview of firm size distributions that result as steady states from models differing in the way these firm dynamics are modelled. In the process we (i) derive common results and explain seemingly contradictory results, (ii) propose new functional forms to describe firm size distributions, (iii) give insight in the interrelationships between the distributions in terms of underlying firm dynamics, (iv) give possible firm dynamical interpretations of the parameters of the distributions, and (v) analyse to which extent the steadystate approach is able to explain the shape of firm size distributions that are encountered in practice.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Journal of Industrial Organization.

    Volume (Year): 23 (2005)
    Issue (Month): 5-6 (June)
    Pages: 423-450

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:23:y:2005:i:5-6:p:423-450

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505551

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    1. Evans, David S, 1987. "The Relationship between Firm Growth, Size, and Age: Estimates for 100 Manufacturing Industries," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(4), pages 567-81, June.
    2. McDonald, James B, 1984. "Some Generalized Functions for the Size Distribution of Income," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 647-63, May.
    3. Hall, Bronwyn H, 1987. "The Relationship between Firm Size and Firm Growth in the U.S. Manufacturing Sector," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(4), pages 583-606, June.
    4. Dunne, Timothy & Roberts, Mark J & Samuelson, Larry, 1989. "The Growth and Failure of U.S. Manufacturing Plants," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 104(4), pages 671-98, November.
    5. Evans, David S, 1987. "Tests of Alternative Theories of Firm Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(4), pages 657-74, August.
    6. Reed, William J., 2001. "The Pareto, Zipf and other power laws," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 15-19, December.
    7. Xavier Gabaix, 1999. "Zipf'S Law For Cities: An Explanation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 739-767, August.
    8. Dunne, T. & Roberts, M.J. & Samuelson, L., 1988. "Pattenrs Of Firm Entry And Exit In U.S. Manufacturing Industries," Papers, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics 1-88-2, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
    9. John Sutton, 1997. "Gibrat's Legacy," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(1), pages 40-59, March.
    10. Blank, Aharon & Solomon, Sorin, 2000. "Power laws in cities population, financial markets and internet sites (scaling in systems with a variable number of components)," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 287(1), pages 279-288.
    11. Stanley, Michael H. R. & Buldyrev, Sergey V. & Havlin, Shlomo & Mantegna, Rosario N. & Salinger, Michael A. & Eugene Stanley, H., 1995. "Zipf plots and the size distribution of firms," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 453-457, October.
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