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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. Tor Jakob Klette & Samuel Kortum, 2002. "Innovating Firms and Aggregate Innovation," NBER Working Papers 8819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
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  7. Monika Piazzesi & Eric Swanson, 2004. "Future prices as risk-adjusted forecasts of monetary policy," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
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  9. 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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  17. Erzo G.J. Luttmer, 2004. "The size distribution of firms in an economy with fixed and entry costs," Working Papers, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis 633, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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Cited by:
  1. Esteban Rossi-Hansberg & Mark L. J. Wright, 2007. "Urban Structure and Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(2), pages 597-624.
  2. Vincenzo Denicolò & Piercarlo Zanchettin, 2010. "Leadership Cycles," Working Papers 2010.35, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  3. Sherrill Shaffer & Iftekhar Hasan & Mingming Zhou, 2008. "New Small Firms And Dimensions Of Economic Performance," CAMA Working Papers 2008-24, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  4. Lentz, Rasmus & Mortensen, Dale T., 2005. "An Empirical Model of Growth Through Product Innovation," IZA Discussion Papers 1685, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Erzo G.J. Luttmer, 2004. "The size distribution of firms in an economy with fixed and entry costs," Working Papers, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis 633, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

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