The Growth of Firms in Theory and in Practice
AbstractThis paper is a reflective survey of past and recent econometric work on the growth of firms. Most of this work suggests that firm size follows a random walk; i.e. that corporate growth rates are random. The survey documents this, and shows what a strong result this is by contrasting it with several alternative (and rather obvious) models which might be used to explain corporate growth rates but which are basically inconsistent with the data. The survey also discusses complementary evidence on corporate innovation rates and adjustment costs in investment/employment decisions which is consistent with (and therefore provide some support for) these results. This particular result is striking for a number of reasons, not least because it is basically inconsistent with most theories of the growth of firms which have be developed over the years. It is also inconsistent with the recently fashionable resource based theory of the firm. The second half of this essay identified how and why these theories of growth seem to be inconsistent with the data.
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 InfoPaper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 2092.
Date of creation: Mar 1999
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance
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.:
- Philippe Aghion & Peter Howitt, 1990.
"A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction,"
NBER Working Papers
3223, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Aghion, P. & Howitt, P., 1990. "A Model Of Growth Through Creative Destruction," DELTA Working Papers 90-12, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
- Aghion, P. & Howitt, P., 1989. "A Model Of Growth Through Creative Destruction," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 8904, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
- Aghion, P. & Howitt, P., 1989. "A Model Of Growth Through Creative Destruction," Working papers 527, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Hart, Peter E & Oulton, Nicholas, 1996. "Growth and Size of Firms," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(438), pages 1242-52, September.
- Geroski, Paul A & Samiei, Hossein & Van Reenen, John, 1996.
"How Persistently do Firms Innovate?,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
1433, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Elena Cefis, 1996. "Is there any persistence in innovative activities?," Department of Economics Working Papers 9606, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
- Geroski, Paul A & Machin, Stephen & Walters, Christopher F, 1997. "Corporate Growth and Profitability," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(2), pages 171-89, June.
- Hamermesh, Daniel S & Pfann, Gerard Antonie, 1996.
"Adjustment Costs in Factor Demand,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
1371, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M.R.A. Engel & John Haltiwanger, 1995.
"Aggregate Employment Dynamics: Building From Microeconomic Evidence,"
NBER Working Papers
5042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Caballero, Ricardo J & Engel, Eduardo M R A & Haltiwanger, John, 1997. "Aggregate Employment Dynamics: Building from Microeconomic Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 115-37, March.
- Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo Engel & John Haltiwanger, 1996. "Aggregate Employment Dynamics: Building from Microeconomic Evidence," Documentos de Trabajo 6, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
- Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction," Scholarly Articles 12490578, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Steven J. Davis & John C. Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1998. "Job Creation and Destruction," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262540932, December.
- Geroski,Paul A. & Gregg,Paul, 1997.
"Coping with Recession,"
Cambridge University Press, number 9780521626019.
- Caballero, Ricardo J., 1999.
Handbook of Macroeconomics,
in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 12, pages 813-862
- P. Geroski, 1998.
"An Applied Econometrician's View of Large Company Performance,"
Review of Industrial Organization,
Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 271-294, June.
- Geroski, Paul A, 1998. "An Applied Econometrician's View of Large Company Performance," CEPR Discussion Papers 1862, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M. R. A. Engel & John C. Haltiwanger, 1995. "Plant-Level Adjustment and Aggregate Investment Dynamics," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(2), pages 1-54.
- Slater, Martin, 1980. "The Managerial Limitation to the Growth of Firms," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(3593), pages 520-28, September.
- Cynthia A. Montgomery & Birger Wernerfelt, 1988. "Diversification, Ricardian Rents, and Tobin's q," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(4), pages 623-632, Winter.
- Ingemar Dierickx & Karel Cool, 1989. "Asset Stock Accumulation and Sustainability of Competitive Advantage," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(12), pages 1504-1511, December.
- Chandler, Alfred Jr., 1992. "What is a firm? : A historical perspective," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(2-3), pages 483-492, April.
- You, Jong-Il, 1995. "Small Firms in Economic Theory," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(3), pages 441-62, June.
- Bronwyn H. Hall, 1986.
"The Relationship Between Firm Size and Firm Growth in the U.S. Manufacturing Sector,"
NBER Working Papers
1965, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Hall, Bronwyn H, 1987. "The Relationship between Firm Size and Firm Growth in the U.S. Manufacturing Sector," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(4), pages 583-606, June.
- Malerba, Franco & Orsenigo, Luigi, 1995. "Schumpeterian Patterns of Innovation," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 47-65, February.
- Mueller, Dennis C, 1972. "A Life Cycle Theory of the Firm," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(3), pages 199-219, July.
- Evans, David S, 1987. "Tests of Alternative Theories of Firm Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(4), pages 657-74, August.
- Garnsey, Elizabeth, 1998. "A Theory of the Early Growth of the Firm," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(3), pages 523-56, September.
- Nelson, Charles R. & Plosser, Charles I., 1982. "Trends and random walks in macroeconmic time series : Some evidence and implications," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 139-162.
- Moore, John, 1992. "The firm as a collection of assets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(2-3), pages 493-507, April.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.