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Firm Size Dynamics in the Aggregate Economy

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  • Wright, Mark

Abstract

Why do firm growth and exit rates decline with size? What determines the size distribution of firms? This paper presents a theory of firm dynamics that simultaneously rationalizes the basic facts on firm growth, exit, and size distributions. The theory emphasizes the accumulation of industry specific human capital in response to industry specific productivity shocks. The theory implies that firm growth and exit rates should decline faster with size, and the size distribution should have thinner tails, in sectors that use human capital less intensively, or correspondingly, physical capital more intensively. In line with the theory, we document substantial sectoral heterogeneity in US firm dynamics and firm size distributions, which is well explained by variation in physical capital intensities.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz in its series Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series with number qt4rs4202s.

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Date of creation: 12 Dec 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucscec:qt4rs4202s

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  1. Richard Rogerson & Diego Restuccia, 2004. "Policy Distortions and Aggregate Productivity with Heterogeneous Plants," 2004 Meeting Papers 69, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Ericson, Richard & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Markov-Perfect Industry Dynamics: A Framework for Empirical Work," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(1), pages 53-82, January.
  3. Jakob Klette & Samuel Kortum, 2002. "Innovating firms and aggregate innovation," Staff Report 300, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  4. Bee Yan Aw & Sukkyun Chung & Mark J. Roberts, 2002. "Productivity, Output, and Failure: A Comparison of Taiwanese and Korean Manufacturers," NBER Working Papers 8766, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Gian Luca Clementi & Hugo Hopenhayn, . "A Theory of Financing Constraints and Firm Dynamics," GSIA Working Papers 2002-E9, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  6. Esteban Rossi-Hansberg & Mark L.J. Wright, 2005. "Urban Structure and Growth," NBER Working Papers 11262, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Roy Thurik & Enrico Santarelli & David Audretsch & Luuk Klomp, 2002. "Gibrat's Law: Are the Services Different?," Scales Research Reports H200201, EIM Business and Policy Research.
  8. 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 Elsevier.
  9. Monika Piazzesi & Eric Swanson, 2004. "Future prices as risk-adjusted forecasts of monetary policy," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
  10. Rui Albuquerque & Hugo Hopenhayn, 2002. "Optimal Lending Contracts and Firm Dynamics," RCER Working Papers 493, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
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  12. Orr, Dale, 1974. "The Determinants of Entry: A Sudy of the Canadian Manufacturing Industries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 56(1), pages 58-66, February.
  13. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
  14. 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.
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  16. Dunne, Timothy & Roberts, Mark J & Samuelson, Larry, 1989. "Plant Turnover and Gross Employment Flows in the U.S. Manufacturing Sector," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(1), pages 48-71, January.
  17. Thomas F. Cooley & Vincenzo Quadrini, 1999. "Financial Markets and Firm Dynamics," Working Papers 99-14, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
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  19. Hopenhayn, Hugo A, 1992. "Entry, Exit, and Firm Dynamics in Long Run Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(5), pages 1127-50, September.
  20. Erzo G.J. Luttmer, 2004. "The size distribution of firms in an economy with fixed and entry costs," Working Papers 633, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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  22. Gueorgui Kambourov & Iourii Manovskii, 2009. "Occupational Specificity Of Human Capital," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(1), pages 63-115, 02.
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  25. Gorecki, Paul K, 1976. "The Determinants of Entry by Domestic and Foreign Enterprises in Canadian Manufacturing Industries: Some Comments and Empirical Results," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 58(4), pages 485-88, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Mark Wright & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2004. "Urban Structure and Growth," 2004 Meeting Papers 33, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Shaffer , Sherrill & Hasan , Iftekhar & Zhou, Mingming, 2009. "New small firms and dimensions of economic performance," Research Discussion Papers 4/2009, Bank of Finland.
  3. Rasmus Lentz & Dale T. Mortensen, 2005. "An Empirical Model of Growth Through Product Innovation," CAM Working Papers 2005-13, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
  4. Glenn MacDonald & Emin Dinlersoz, 2005. "The Industry Life-Cycle of the Size Distribution of Firms," Working Papers 05-10, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  5. Vincenzo Denicolò & Piercarlo Zanchettin, 2010. "Leadership Cycles," Working Papers 2010.35, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  6. Barnes, Sebastian & Price, Simon & Sebastia Barriel, Maria, 2008. "The elasticity of substitution: evidence from a UK firm-level data set," Bank of England working papers 348, Bank of England.
  7. Erzo G.J. Luttmer, 2004. "The size distribution of firms in an economy with fixed and entry costs," Working Papers 633, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

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