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Firm Size Distribution and Growth

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  • Patrizio Pagano

    ()
    (Bank of Italy, Economic Research Department)

  • Fabiano Schivardi

    ()
    (Bank of Italy, Economic Research Department)

Abstract

We empirically characterize the sectoral distribution of firm size for a set of European countries, finding substantial differences. We then study the relationship between productivity growth at the sectoral level and size structure. We find a positive and robust association between average firm size and growth. Asking why size should matter for growth, we consider the role of innovative activity, to construct a test based on the differential effect of size on growth according to various indicators of R&D intensity at the sectoral level. Our results indicate that larger size fosters productivity growth because it allows firms to take advantage of all the increasing returns associated with R&D. We finally argue that our test can be interpreted as a test of reverse causality, which lends support to the view of firm size having a causal impact on growth.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area in its series Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) with number 394.

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Date of creation: Feb 2001
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Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_394_01

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Keywords: firm size; growth; R&D.;

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  1. M. Carree & A. Thurik, 1998. "Small firms and economic growth in europe," Atlantic Economic Journal, International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 26(2), pages 137-146, June.
  2. Peretto, Pietro F., 1999. "Firm size, rivalry and the extent of the market in endogenous technological change," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(9), pages 1747-1773, October.
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  9. Peretto, Pietro F, 1998. " Technological Change, Market Rivalry, and the Evolution of the Capitalist Engine of Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 53-80, March.
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  13. George Symeonidis, 1996. "Innovation, Firm Size and Market Structure: Schumpeterian Hypotheses and Some New Themes," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 161, OECD Publishing.
  14. Dunne, T. & Roberts, M.J. & Samuelson, L., 1988. "The Growth And Failure Of U.S. Manufacturing Plants," Papers 1-87-5, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  15. Budd, Christopher & Harris, Christopher & Vickers, John, 1993. "A Model of the Evolution of Duopoly: Does the Asymmetry between Firms Tend to Increase or Decrease?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 543-73, July.
  16. Holmstrom, Bengt & Tirole, Jean, 1997. "Financial Intermediation, Loanable Funds, and the Real Sector," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 663-91, August.
  17. Peretto, Pietro F., 1999. "Cost reduction, entry, and the interdependence of market structure and economic growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 173-195, February.
  18. Matteo Bugamelli, 2001. "Il modello di specializzazione internazionale dell'Italia e dei principali paesi europei: omogeneità e convergenza," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 402, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  19. Pavitt, Keith, 1984. "Sectoral patterns of technical change: Towards a taxonomy and a theory," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(6), pages 343-373, December.
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