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Selection and Firm Survival: Evidence from the Shipbuilding Industry, 1825-1914

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  • Peter Thompson

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Florida International University)

Abstract

Several theories of firm performance can explain the well-known observation that survival is positively related to age. However, a more mundane explanation – selection bias driven by variations in firm quality – may also underlie the phenomenon. This paper employs a 90-year plant-level panel data set on the US iron and steel shipbuilding industry of the 19th and early 20th centuries to discriminate between the two explanations. The shipbuilding industry exhibits the usual joint dependency of survival on age and size, but this dependency is eliminated after controlling for heterogeneity by using pre-entry experience as a proxy for firm quality. The evidence points to a dominant role for selection bias in creating the age-dependency of survival. At the same time, pre-entry experience is found to have a large and extremely persistent effect on survival, and this finding is inconsistent with standard explanations for the role of pre-entry experience on firm performance.

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File URL: http://casgroup.fiu.edu/pages/docs/2245/1280267948_04-04.pdf
File Function: First version, 2004
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Florida International University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0404.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in The Review of Economics and Statistics, 87(1):26-36, (2005)
Handle: RePEc:fiu:wpaper:0404

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Web page: http://casgroup.fiu.edu/Economics/
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Keywords: shipbuilding; firm survival; age; selection; unobserved heterogeneity;

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References

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  1. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
  2. P.A. Geroski & José Mata & Pedro Portugal, 2007. "Founding Conditions and the Survival of New Firms," DRUID Working Papers 07-11, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  3. Richard Disney & Jonathan Haskel & Ylva Heden, 2003. "Entry, Exit and Establishment Survival in UK Manufacturing," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 91-112, 03.
  4. 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.
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  7. 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.
  8. Timothy Dunne & Mark J. Roberts & Larry Samuelson, 1988. "Patterns of Firm Entry and Exit in U.S. Manufacturing Industries," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(4), pages 495-515, Winter.
  9. Baldwin, John R. & Bian, Lin & Dupuy, Richard & Gellatly, Guy, 2000. "Failure Rates for New Canadian Firms: New Perspectives on Entry and Exit," Failure Rates for New Canadian Firms: New Perspectives on Entry and Exit, Statistics Canada, Economic Analysis, number stcb5e, December.
  10. Baldwin, John R. & Harchaoui, Tarek, 2002. "Productivity Growth in Canada," Productivity Growth in Canada, Statistics Canada, Economic Analysis, number stcb6e, December.
  11. 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.
  12. Steven Klepper & Sally Sleeper, 2005. "Entry by Spinoffs," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(8), pages 1291-1306, August.
  13. Boyan Jovanovic & Peter L. Rousseau, 2001. "Vintage Organization Capital," NBER Working Papers 8166, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Audretsch, David B & Mahmood, Talat, 1995. "New Firm Survival: New Results Using a Hazard Function," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(1), pages 97-103, February.
  15. Mata, Jose & Portugal, Pedro, 1994. "Life Duration of New Firms," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(3), pages 227-45, September.
  16. Peter Thompson, 2008. "The Iron and Steel Shipbuilding Data Set, 1825-1914: Sources, Coverage, and Coding Decisions," Working Papers 0807, Florida International University, Department of Economics.
  17. Hopenhayn, Hugo A, 1992. "Entry, Exit, and Firm Dynamics in Long Run Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(5), pages 1127-50, September.
  18. Audretsch, David B, 1991. "New-Firm Survival and the Technological Regime," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(3), pages 441-50, August.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Roberto Fontana & Lionel Nesta, 2007. "Product Innovation and Survival in a High-Tech Industry," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2007-30, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
  2. Roy Thurik & Jolanda Hessels & Isabel Grilo & Peter van der Zwan, 2009. "Entrepreneurial exit and entrepreneurial engagement," Scales Research Reports H200910, EIM Business and Policy Research.
  3. Peter Thompson, 2008. "The Iron and Steel Shipbuilding Data Set, 1825-1914: Sources, Coverage, and Coding Decisions," Working Papers 0807, Florida International University, Department of Economics.
  4. Hielke Buddelmeyer & Paul H. Jensen & Elizabeth Webster, 2006. "Innovation and the Determinants of Firm Survival," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2006n15, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  5. Coad, Alex, 2010. "Investigating the exponential age distribution of firms," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy, vol. 4(17), pages 1-30.
  6. Hanas Cader & John Leatherman, 2011. "Small business survival and sample selection bias," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 155-165, September.
  7. Mano, Yukichi & Suzuki, Aya, 2013. "Industrial Development through Takeovers and Exits: the Case of the Cut Flower Exporters in Ethiopia," Discussion Papers 2013-05, Graduate School of Economics, Hitotsubashi University.
  8. Margherita Balconi & Roberto Fontana, 2011. "Entry and innovation: an analysis of the fabless semiconductor business," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 87-106, July.
  9. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/6127 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Luis F. Medrano E., 2012. "Patent Citations, University Inventor Patents, and Survival in the German Laser Source Industry (1960-2005)," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-009, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  11. Guido Buenstorf & Ulrich Witt, 2006. "How Problems of Organisational Growth in Firms Affect Industry Entry and Exit," Revue de l'OFCE, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 97(5), pages 47-62.
  12. Nicole Nulsch, 2014. "Is Subsidizing Companies in Difficulties an Optimal Policy? An Empirical Study on the Effectiveness of State Aid in the European Union," IWH Discussion Papers 9, Halle Institute for Economic Research.
  13. Huynh, Kim P. & Petrunia, Robert J. & Voia, Marcel, 2012. "Duration of new firms: The role of startup financial conditions, industry and aggregate factors," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 354-362.
  14. Taylor, Margaret & Taylor, Andrew, 2012. "The technology life cycle: Conceptualization and managerial implications," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 140(1), pages 541-553.

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