Big is beautiful ? La productivité des entreprises en fonction de leur taille en Allemagne et aux États-Unis au tournant des XIXe-XXe siècles1
AbstractProminent economic historians have studied the size advantages or disadvantages of large versus small firms in the late 19 th and early 20 th century. Chandler famously argued that the US and Germany achieved significant growth momentum by organizing firms in larger units. However, few studies have looked at actual productivity values of large and small firms. In this study, we find that small firms were in most cases not less productive than large firms. Samples of German firms are taken from income and business tax records in Southern and Western Germany. For comparison, US firms are studied based on the 1880 industrial census. Only a small number of industries realized substantial size advantages, whereas the majority did not – even in the US.
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