Sunk Costs, Market Contestability, and the Size Distribution of Firms
AbstractThis paper offers a new economic explanation for the observed inter-industry differences in the size distribution of firms. The empirical estimates--based on three temporal (1982, 1987, and 1992) cross-sections of the four-digit United States manufacturing industries--indicate that increased market contestability, as signified by low sunk costs, tends to reduce the dispersion of firm sizes. These findings provide support for one of the key predictions of the theory of contestable markets: that market forces under contestability would tend to render any inefficient organization of the industry unsustainable and, consequently, tighten the distribution of firms around the optimum.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Springer in its journal Review of Industrial Organization.
Volume (Year): 37 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (November)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100336
Contestability; Size distribution of firms; Sunk costs; L11; L22; L60; O38;
Other versions of this item:
- Kessides, Ioannis N. & Tang, Li, 2011. "Sunk costs, market contestability, and the size distribution of firms," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5540, The World Bank.
- C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
- D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
- L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Geroski, Paul A & Samiei, Hossein & Urga, Giovanni, 1997.
"Are Differences in Firm Size Transitory or Permanent?,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
1691, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- G. Urga & P. A. Geroski & S. Lazarova & C. F. Walters, 2003. "Are differences in firm size transitory or permanent?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(1), pages 47-59.
- Luís Cabral & Thomas Ross, 2007.
"Are Sunk Costs a Barrier to Entry?,"
19, Portuguese Competition Authority.
- Cabral, Luís M B & Ross, Thomas, 2007. "Are Sunk Costs a Barrier to Entry?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6162, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Luis M.B. Cabral & Thomas Ross, 2006. "Are Sunk Costs A Barrier To Entry?," Working Papers 06-09, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
- Kwoka, John E, Jr & White, Lawrence J, 2001.
" The New Industrial Organization and Small Business,"
Small Business Economics,
Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 21-30, February.
- Kwoka Jr., J.E. & White, L.J., 2000. "The New Industrial Organization and Small Business," New York University, Leonard N. Stern School Finance Department Working Paper Seires ec-00-03, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business-.
- John E. Kwoka Jr. & Lawrence J. White, 2000. "The New Industrial Organization and Small Business," Working Papers 00-03, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
- Ghosal, Vivek, 1996. "Does uncertainty influence the number of firms in an industry?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 229-236, February.
- Davies, Stephen W & Lyons, Bruce R, 1982. "Seller Concentration: The Technological Explanation and Demand Uncertainty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(368), pages 903-19, December.
- Francesca Lotti & Enrico Santarelli & Marco Vivarelli, 2009.
"Defending Gibrat’s Law as a long-run regularity,"
Small Business Economics,
Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 31-44, January.
- Ghosal, Vivek, 2002.
"Impact of Uncertainty and Sunk Costs on Firm Survival and Industry Dynamics,"
Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002
86, Royal Economic Society.
- Vivek Ghosal, 2003. "Impact of Uncertainty and Sunk Costs on Firm Survival and Industry Dynamics," CIG Working Papers SP II 2003-12, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
- Schmalensee, Richard, 1989.
"Inter-industry studies of structure and performance,"
Handbook of Industrial Organization,
in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 16, pages 951-1009
- Schmalensee, Richard., 1987. "Inter-industry studies of structure and performance," Working papers 1874-87., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
- Martin, Stephen, 1989. "Sunk costs, financial markets, and contestability," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 1089-1113, July.
- Baumol, William J, 1982. "Contestable Markets: An Uprising in the Theory of Industry Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(1), pages 1-15, March.
- Berry, Steven & Reiss, Peter, 2007. "Empirical Models of Entry and Market Structure," Handbook of Industrial Organization, Elsevier.
- White, Lawrence J, 1981. "What Has Been Happening to Aggregate Concentration in the United States?," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(3), pages 223-30, March.
- Cefis, Elena & Ciccarelli, Matteo & Orsenigo, Luigi, 2007.
"Testing Gibrat's legacy: A Bayesian approach to study the growth of firms,"
Structural Change and Economic Dynamics,
Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 348-369, September.
- Elena Cefis & Matteo Ciccarelli & Luigi Orsenigo, 2004. "Testing Gibrat's Legacy: A Bayesian Approach to Study the Growth of Firms," Working Papers 05-02, Utrecht School of Economics.
- Vivek Ghosal, 2003. "Firm and Establishment Volatility: The Role of Sunk Costs, Profit Uncertainty and Technological Change," CESifo Working Paper Series 980, CESifo Group Munich.
- Jong-Rong Chen & Wen-Cheng Lu, 2003. "Panel unit root tests of firm size and its growth," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(6), pages 343-345.
- Zmijewski, Mark E. & Hagerman, Robert L., 1981. "An income strategy approach to the positive theory of accounting standard setting/choice," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 129-149, August.
- Hagerman, Robert L & Senbet, Lemma W, 1976. "A Test of Accounting Bias and Market Structure," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(4), pages 509-14, October.
- Xavier Gabaix, 1999. "Zipf'S Law For Cities: An Explanation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 739-767, August.
- Kessides, Ioannis N, 1986. "Advertising, Sunk Costs, and Barriers to Entry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 68(1), pages 84-95, February.
- Blandina Oliveira & Adelino Fortunato, 2003.
"Testing Gibrat’s Law: Empirical Evidence from a Panel of Portuguese Manufacturing Firms,"
GEMF Working Papers
2003-07, GEMF - Faculdade de Economia, Universidade de Coimbra.
- Blandina Oliveira & Adelino Fortunato, 2006. "Testing Gibrat's Law: Empirical Evidence from a Panel of Portuguese Manufacturing Firms," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(1), pages 65-81.
- White, Lawrence J, 1982. "The Determinants of the Relative Importance of Small Business," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(1), pages 42-49, February.
- Ghosal, Vivek, 2007. "Small is Beautiful but Size Matters: The Asymmetric Impact of Uncertainty and Sunk Costs on Small and Large Businesses," MPRA Paper 5461, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Del Monte, Alfredo & Papagni, Erasmo, 2003. "R&D and the growth of firms: empirical analysis of a panel of Italian firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1003-1014, June.
- Borchert, Ingo & Gootiiz, Batshur & Grover, Arti & Mattoo, Aaditya, 2012. "Landlocked or policy locked ? how services trade protection deepens economic isolation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5942, The World Bank.
- Pierre Blanchard & Jean-Pierre Huiban & Claude Mathieu, 2012. "The determinants of firm exit in the French food industries," Post-Print hal-00939376, HAL.
- Werner Hölzl, 2012. "Mobility Barriers and the Speed of Market Selection," WIFO Working Papers 437, WIFO.
- Pierre Blanchard & Jean-Pierre Huiban & Claude Mathieu, 2012. "The determinants of firm exit in the French food industries," Review of Agricultural and Environmental Studies - Revue d'Etudes en Agriculture et Environnement, INRA Department of Economics, vol. 93(2), pages 193-212.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Guenther Eichhorn) or (Christopher F. Baum).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.