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On the size distributions of firms and markets

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  • Asplund, Marcus

    (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)

Abstract

Two weak restrictions on equilibrium market structures are that firms who decide to enter make sufficient profits to cover entry costs and fixed costs of production, and that no new firm could profitably enter. I examine these restrictions by the size distribution of firms in the same industry, but who compete in different geographical markets. The industry is characterised by small exogenous entry costs, comparatively large fixed costs of production, negligible efficiency differences, and primarily spatial product differentiation. The inherent symmetry of conditions results in a strong tendency towards equal sized firms within markets. Market structures with many small firms are never observed and rarely are those with a few large firms, thereby illustrating the bite of the two restrictions. Finally, I show that a skewed size distribution of firms at the industry level can be explained by an underlying skewed distribution of market sizes.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Stockholm School of Economics in its series Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance with number 288.

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Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: 09 Dec 1998
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:hastef:0288

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Postal: The Economic Research Institute, Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, 113 83 Stockholm, Sweden
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Related research

Keywords: Size distribution of firms; market structure; market size; exogenous sunk costs; spatial product differentiation; driving schools;

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References

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  1. Cabral, Luis, 1995. "Sunk Costs, Firm Size and Firm Growth," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(2), pages 161-72, June.
  2. Asplund, Marcus & Sandin, Rickard, 1995. "Competition in Interrelated Markets: An Empirical Study," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 84, Stockholm School of Economics.
  3. McCloughan, Patrick, 1995. "Simulation of Concentration Development from Modified Gibrat Growth-Entry-Exit Processes," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(4), pages 405-33, December.
  4. Bresnahan, Timothy F & Reiss, Peter C, 1990. "Entry in Monopoly Markets," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(4), pages 531-53, October.
  5. 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.
  6. Bresnahan, T.F & Reiss, P.C., 1989. "Entry And Competition In Concentrated Markets," Papers 151, Stanford - Studies in Industry Economics.
  7. Asplund, Marcus & Sandin, Rickard, 1999. "The Number of Firms and Production Capacity in Relation to Market Size," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 69-85, March.
  8. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Luigi Buzzacchi & Tommaso Valetti, 1999. "Firm Size Distribution: Testing the "Independent Submarkets Model" in the Italian Motor Insurance Industry," STICERD - Economics of Industry Papers 24, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.

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